Well today was one of those “bonkers African days’ as Adrian likes to call them! It is now 8.30pm and I am finally back lying on my bed typing – there are over 100 people in this house ready for tomorrow so the ear plugs later and my iPod are essential items.
I was just going to have a shower when I found there was no water so after about twenty minutes one of the women found me a bowl and I managed to wash some of today’s dirt and heat off.
Last night after managing to send my first blog, so sorry absolutely no chance of photos – they just will NOT send, I had supper at this house, the Bishop’s home, and sat with eight South Sudanese Bishops!!! They were very friendly and welcoming all in their relaxing evening wear but in the day time it is purple shirts everywhere – everyone else sat outside – it was fun!
This morning after breakfast and a very nice chat with the Bishop of Lomega (Bishop Pau)l I headed off to the CRESS office. Only to find no power so we called the wonderful Fred Maziina over (as soon as I get here I always need his help with IT) and he managed to sort it and the internet was restored. I then did some work with Rose the very good young accounts lady for CRESS. Joseph’s end of year report had failed to open on my laptop so we had a look at it on hers but when I asked if we could print just one important page I was told no printer in the Diocese of Kajo Kej was working! Fred’s has broken and the two CRESS ones have run out of ink until I get some back home and send them out .. some how!
We set off for Liwolo just 30 minutes late – travel for 10 minutes and realise Fred Taban has left the money that we need for petrol behind – so get off 15 mins later.
We bump our way to Wudu town where I insist I get out early to walk with the camera to the petrol station – I wanted to capture the empty deserted homes and shops (if one can call them that). We meet up again with the jeep and they have changed the $50 note for a huge wad of South Sudanese pounds.
The first petrol station doesn’t have enough petrol to fill the jeep – so off to another one – more chat – then the boy does not trust the bundles and counts every note – another 10 mins has passed. The pump is one of those that only people over 60 can remember, the type where you wind a handle to get the petrol out. I then realise Samson is not with us – I’m told he had to go home as he ripped his trousers getting out of the truck and has to get another pair! So we wait for him to return! I sort of think I could not make it up if I tried. We finally leave around 11.20 when we were supposed to be at Liwolo!
We bump our way there for over an hour (it is so slow and uncomfortable!) and we get to see the amazing bridge over the river (the river that stopped myself, David Henley and two others getting through some five years ago). We finally arrive at the clinic where they have laid banana leaves out in rows as a welcome for us.
There sitting at the table is Simon Best and George 2, men who work for the UN Ops who had asked to see me – they wanted to thank CRESS for the clinic. They were incredibly positive about it – Simon has worked in Africa for UN ops for 26 years and both he and George said this clinic was most unusual and were so complimentary about it – I have recorded their short speeches. They said they see so many projects not work in Africa and if only people knew the story of this clinic they would donate!
They have been building three very impressive bridges over the river in this area and have had a camp at Manglatore. Their workers, many Chinese and local people, have suffered much sickness as they work near the river and have had Typhoid and Malaria. If the clinic had not been there to treat them the whole project might have failed- As a thank you … they have given $65,000 worth of fencing to the clinic (it does need putting up) but it will save CRESS a lot of dollars!
So after an hour of talk they were off and for me it was see the clinic – meet the staff – talk – thank – encourage and then eat at 3.30pm by which time I was hungry and a little faint.
Then bump bump bump back with a stop at the home of Elly Mawa who wanted to thank CRESS as we had sent money quickly for treatment when he had Hepatitis B and would have died without. Unfortunately like so many he has sent his two children that we sponsor to Uganda for safety so I could not see them – they are sponsored by Humphrey Rose and Penny Morris. I was given a chicken!
Off we went to Joseph’s house where I got to see his eleven children. Some very moving speeches about how their lives had been changed by the education, CRESS and how different things were for them. Several of these children are top of their classes in Uganda and Alison Snook’s young boy Samson did so well he was given one term free. Five years ago only Joseph and Godfrey could speak English now they are all fluent, even Yango his wife.
Another large delicious meal which I could not do justice to and finally back at the Bishop’ s house for 8.30pm and no water!!! But in all a very African day but redeemed by the amazingly encouraging and surprising meeting with Simon and George.
Now time to relax and read a book before the marathon service tomorrow – I am going for 5 hours!
Fonder and CEO