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From our Malakal displaced community

Letter by Sr Carolyn Bush SNDN,
October 2014

Dear Sisters, family, and friends,

It’s been almost two months since I’ve returned to South Sudan from California and come to be a member of the Solidarity Community in Wau where we are helping to train nurses and midwives.

Our Teaching Training College in Malakal has been looted and is now being used on Mondays and Fridays as a clinic by Doctors Without Borders. Malakal is still a ghost town. The UN Camp offers protection to about 17,000 displaced people. Our Solidarity members Sr. Barbara Paleszgny and Fr. Mike Basano are now in the UN Camp for a week. They had gone to offer Trauma Healing Workshops but there is no gathering space in the Camp for such workshops, so Barb and Mike are visiting the people in the Camp. They shared that the roads have become overgrown by grass and mud abounds. People fear to return to their ruined homes because another attack may take place. The government and the rebels are still struggling for ownership of the oil-rich lands of the Greater Upper Nile Region located in the eastern part of South Sudan.

We are grateful the western and southern parts of South Sudan remain peaceful and Solidarity with South Sudan is able to continue serving in these areas. Wau is the second largest city of South Sudan and is the capital of the state of Western Bahr el Ghazal. Wau is on the banks of the Jur River. At one time a railroad connected Wau with Khartoum. The largest Catholic Church in Sudan and South Sudan was built on a hill here in Wau. The beautiful dome of the cathedral dedicated to Mary, the Mother of God, rises above the surrounding mango trees. Many of the buildings here in Wau, including our Catholic Health Training Institute, are made of red volcanic tuff and brick. During the time of Wau’s occupation by the Khartoum government army, a big white mosque was built near the Cathedral. The two graceful minarets soar taller than the Cathedral dome.

When I was here in Wau in March helping to teach English to some of the new students who had done their secondary schooling in Arabic, I had begun to organize the Institute Library using the Dewey Decimal Classification. I’ve been delighted to return and work with Missouri Sister of Charity Janet Cashman, a Community Health Nurse, who is new to library work. Janet is now enjoying our progress in cataloguing the books, especially our large collection of Medicine and Nursing, for which we use 610-619 in DDC.

Yesterday I was helping to invigilate the first internal exam for our Third Year Nurses and Midwives who will sit their National Exams in November. There are 24 Nurses and 18 Midwives. This nursing class will be the third class to graduate from CHTI. The midwifery class will be the first such class to graduate from CHTI. About a third of the class are women. Each of the third year students must help a woman deliver a baby in the hospital under the supervision of one of our tutors. A few weeks after delivery, our student and his/her tutor then visit the baby and mother in the woman’s home. I greatly admire the dedication of our Solidarity tutors!!!!

Next week I will fly to Yambio, in the southern part of South Sudan, to help teach Social Studies in our Teaching Training College there. Hopefully, I’ll be able to return to Wau to continue the process of organizing the library with Janet in December, God willing.

Thank you very much for your prayerful support for our ministry here in South Sudan. We continue to pray for peace and a change of heart in the leaders who are negotiating for peace in Addis Ababa.

God bless and keep you in your ministries in the vineyard of our Good God!