South Sudan Diary May 26-30: Dynamic Changes

SATURDAY

A relaxed day today with a later start to H&R school. School not in session so the only ones present were Anthony, the headmaster, and the Ugandan teachers. Shot a Dinka language lesson with Fr. Paul, a tour introduction with Anthony. Helped Tom with classroom cleanup and rearranging pavilion seating. Lunch of rice, beans and goat meat. Skies threatened in early afternoon.

By departure at 3:30 p.m. winds picked up. Four of us in the back of truck when skies opened. Quite a thrill, reminding me of an earlier Caribbean vacation with my father and brother in 1972. Everything drenched–needed to wash shirt, pants, socks anyway.

Darryl allowed me to use his phone to call home. Talked with Virginia who updated me on her security plans. She had not heard from Dan on the occasion of his birthday. Ugandan teachers joined me on phone with birthday song for Dan. Interesting time back at the clinic, meeting Billy White, retired Army now evangelizing in Africa. Clarke, the resident doctor from Charleston, quite engaging as well.

SUNDAY

Lengthy worship at Akot cathedral. Bishop Isaac presiding over worship service. Ran 2.5 hours. Singing, clapping, drums, preaching in Dinka and English. Youth entered from rear of church. Afterwards, some socializing. Took photos of kids, swarmed by them when displaying shots. Rest day at clinic. Most of team went to full immersion baptism.

WEDNESDAY

Said goodbye to five of our team who left for home. Paul+, Tom, Darryl, Karen and Emily all provided warm friendship and encouragement for me. Tom did several stints as a teacher and was a “jack of all trades.” I will surely miss him and the others. The dynamic changes as the team is reduced to three.

Walked to Atiaba market (1/2 mile) with student Elizabeth. Visited her Tukul, members of extended family. Will walk with her on Friday. Jennifer and EB shopped for some items from each of three vendors, spending about 20 South Sudanese pounds. After lunch, students performed a celebratory dance, with pounding drums. Very good to videotape.

After school there was a soccer match at the nearby pitch. Start of game was held up because ball was caught in a tree. Lulu Trees are not cut because they produce a fruit which is ground into a cosmetic paste, so there are living impediments on the field–and they are in play. Before match, all players and the referee came to greet EB and me. Somewhat hard to shoot a game while standing on sideline. Missed first goal, left shortly thereafter. Drove back to clinic, surviving the rough road. With five members of team having left, there were fewer “backseat drivers” critiquing my efforts.

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