A letter from Nancy McGaughey in Sudan
A Week on the Road
Last week was one of traveling. I went from Adol to Rumbek Monday afternoon and spent the night there to work on plans with co-workers. Early the next morning we left for Nyang so I could visit the way station for returnees from Khartoum. It is only about 100 miles away, but the road is so bad in places that it took us over one hour to travel less than 18 miles in one part. As I had been gone so long, it was a good chance to see what had happened in my absence, to take stock of the clinic and to catch up with two of our staff (who also happen to be former students of mine). Still, it was nice to return to Adol and my bed under the stars for a good night’s sleep.
On Wednesday was a long anticipated trip to Paloc. I have heard about this village ever since arriving here. It is one of the most isolated villages, inaccessible during much of the rainy season. We took EPI (extended program for immunization) team with us, as they do not often reach this area, packed a lunch and off we went. We had an interesting meeting with village elders, who discussed what they had achieved on their own (school for grades 1 to 7, a health clinic that is run by a volunteer but does receive some medicines from the government, etc.) and what help they would like to receive (an all-weather road, paid staff and medicines for the clinic, refresher training for staff, vaccinations for children, etc.).
After visiting the clinic and viewing their records, we again climbed into our Land Cruiser and set off for a famous lake that is beyond this village. There was no road, only a path for motorcycles, so we searched for our own road. We passed a couple of cattle camps, followed a stream, saw lots of beautiful birds, saw some hippo tracks and finally, an hour later, arrived at the fish camp. The people living here are also Dinkas, but of a different kind — they don’t have cattle. I didn’t realize that there could be a Dinka without cattle! Not only that, they are a very nonviolent group, so they do not have guns either. I asked how they arranged marriages without cattle. They said they use fishing nets and boats as dowry. It was a different culture from any I had experienced before.
Thursday was another trip to Nyang to visit both the way station and also a small settlement of returnees. This group of people who came from Khartoum in January have been given some land. A borehole has been drilled and they are now in the process of putting up shelters before the rains come.
Friday was another trip to Rumbek — for a management meeting, to take my Dutch friend to the airport so she can go to Nairobi for two weeks and to visit our driver whose wife and child both died last week. The wife was seven months pregnant, went to hospital for pain and vomiting, had a stillbirth two days later and died the following night. Intellectually I know South Sudan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world, but when it is the wife of your friend, who was in the state hospital, it takes on a different meaning. Abraham is left with 2-year-old twins and two older children. Please keep him in your prayers.
Today starts another week, another trip (or two) to Rumbek, another to Nyang, and whatever else the Lord has in store.
The 2011 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, p. 54