It is extremely hard for us back here in the UK in these uncertain times when the CRESS team in South Sudan are facing daily challenges and struggles both in their work and personally. Their lives have quite literally been turned upside down – the changes since I left just a few weeks ago are huge, although I did see firsthand already deserted towns, villages and fields.
Since returning, as you may already be aware the CRESS office and Liwolo Clinic have been closed. Staff have left homes, families have been separated and we are doing all we can to support them during this difficult time. The image is of the new temporary CRESS office.
We are in regular contact when technology allows from email to the use of WhatsApp (a messenger service) and I recently received the following from Joseph.
Thank you and people of UK for love and prayer. Life have indeed turn upside down. I am deeply and terribly upset with sudden collapse and massive exodus of our people to Ugandan. all our hopes were suddenly destroyed. In Liwolo there are over 30000 people in internal displaced camps of Logo, Andejo and Ajio in terrible and unbearable of lack of water, medicines, food and education of their children. Peoples hope are in the church. We are depress because people demand from us to meet their basic needs.
Following receipt of this heartbreaking message I suggested he went to Kampala to take rest, and time out to pray. Providing him quiet time away from the troubles and desperate situation of the people to plan how CRESS can move forward in South Sudan
I gave him permission to buy a bread oven, giving his wife a chance to make a little money, but perhaps more importantly so that they might eat a piece of bread each morning. Food is extremely scarce at the moment and very expensive, so this way Joseph and his family might at least eat something … as opposed to nothing which is so very bad for them.
It is quite possible that a bread oven might provide a business opportunity for the women in better times, so good use of CRESS funds in so many ways.
It is VITAL that CRESS leaders and their families drink filtered water. They are now so much stronger from doing this for the last three to five years but it has taken that long to teach them that drinking clean water even when out is essential. When wives fall ill it is costly to CRESS as we pay for their treatment, when they are weak they are more susceptible to diseases such as typhoid and malaria especially when they do not drink clean water. I have therefore also instructed the purchase and use of water filters.
I have since heard again from Joseph, and running from their home has left his wife traumatised as she had to leave her tomato business. A business she has worked so very hard on over the past few years and was really only just getting off the ground.
As you can imagine Joseph is extremely sad. The EXCELLENT work of CRESS that he masterminded over the past seven years and that I saw in January seems lost to him!
New premises for the CRESS office have already been found in Aura and here in the UK we truly believe the good work and strong foundations built are not lost. Joseph and his team will do what they can in a new location, still helping the people of South Sudan, using their skills, knowledge and expertise to continue making a difference.
Faith we have, your prayers we need.
Founder and CEO