Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Emma's take on South Sudan

Africa from the eyes of an American girl

Skepticism and trepidation

A little over a month ago, if you were to ask me what I thought about Africa (South Sudan in particular) my answer may have gone something like this...
“Jon’s called there, it’s his home.
Me? I’m an American girl through and through. I don’t have to go there to prove that I don’t belong. I may go for one trip, just to say I’ve been there, but that’s all.”
At any rate, I was determined to enjoy my time. You know, forced positivity.
I had no expectations, then if anything nice happened, it would be a pleasant surprise.

And so our journey began.

The excitement never ends
From the start, the trip to South Sudan proved to be more of an adventure than I anticipated. From city traffic, to goat stew, to scary border towns; I enjoyed every minute of it, sometimes to the point of laughter.
The eighteen hour drive was exhausting and we arrived at Borongole village quite over whelmed by the singing, whooping welcome we received. I had no idea that those new faces that I greeted in a tired daze would soon be familiar and comforting. These would become my friends, who loved us like long lost family.

The more the merrier
One week passed, and we began to become acquainted with the people in each household. One pleasant Thursday morning William and Hannah decided to take advantage of the empty day and bring us to Nimule (the big city 45 minutes away), and the beautiful country side surrounding the Nile. Who would complain about that?
As delay upon delay prevented an early start (something that you had better get used to in Africa), a small contingency of our South Sudanese friends (thirteen to be exact) showed up at the vehicle wanting to join us, dressed in their Sunday best, all ready to go out on the town. So we had a very jolly party of twenty one people sitting in the back of the dump truck plus 4 in the cab.

    Allow me to introduce my new friend Joyce.

 She is William Levi’s direct niece,  living in the household of Pastor Michael (William’s brother). 

She is chief cook and bottle washer with the task of feeding the 20+ young people (more than half of whom are hungry and growing boys) who also living with Michael and Katherine. 

Since the majority of the girls are still in school during the day,  Joyce holds down the fort. 

I had the blessing of helping her wash dishes and do laundry (outside on the ground), cooking, and just visiting everyday for two wonderful weeks. 

She speaks english very well,  has a quiet but fun sense of humor, and is a very patient teacher of all things African. 

Joyce is constantly battling malaria or typhoid, but never fully recovers, so she is often weak.  

She works  slow and steady, and never complains.  

I’m proud to call her my friend.

In short, I left my heart in a little village
called Borongole.