Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Jumbled thoughts from Southern Sudan Part 1

*Note: Northern and Southern Sudan are two different countries in their own right.

It is a country in chaos. A nation that is split and doesnt want it any other way. A people that seeming see no hope in the future of their state. North and South in conflict as we speak.

For the past ten days I have been in one of the most remote parts of Southern Sudan. I have been living among the Dinka people with the mission of Film and Photography assessment of the primary (elementary) school system there. In one word it is devistating. -- As a westerner sitting in my apartment in Manhattan, Kansas informed that this would be my summer plan the ease of changing an education system ran ramped through my nieve and ignorant mind. From the outside, 5000 miles or so away, building schools and mobilizing teachers seems like such a simple ting to do. Raise the money, buy the materials, hire the workers, build the schools, train the educators. Sounds simple enough.

What I didnt realize what I was not informed about is the difficulty to do anything in a country at war. Technically speaking in 2005 a peace treaty was signed between North and South Sudan in reality there is no peace. It is a war stricken nation that is in many ways (and literally as of today) still at war. Fundamentally there us a huge problem in Southern Sudan, it is completely dependent. A country that relies completely on surrounding countries, to produce, provide, deliver all goods and services. No one trusts anyone. The government works against the military, the military against the people, the people against the government and yet somehow they are trying to work together to be the "new Sudan," the south free from the Arab rule of the north. In the least it is dysfunctional.

Schools are needed that is a fact but they are the least of the problems there right now. Everyone is sitting on their hands counting down the days until 2011 when the peace treaty ends. Waiting for 2011 when more than likely their world will be flipped upside down againand the overpowering rule of the north will somehow seize control of the natural resources of the dependent defeated south and civil war will ensue.

How do you help a country that doesn't seem to even want to help itself? That answer I don't believe I will ever have.


As the journey itself to Turalie, Southern Sudan:

Exhausting. 10 days with no power or running water. 10 days of eating with our hands. 10 days of being engulfed in what I am convinced is the slowest paced culture in the world. 10 days of living with the Dinka tribe. 10 days with not a lot of english. 10 days of experiencing just how hard it is to do anything in Southern Sudan. 10 days of dealing with the SPLA. 10 days of living in a mud hut.


Kent said...

Hey Bud - Glad you made it back to Uganda (Man that sounds strange). Sounds like the experience of a lifetime - both good and bad. We all anxious for you to come home, and to hear your stories. Be Safe - Unc Kent

rachel rianne said...

wow, sam.
that's really incredible.
a country and culture waiting for war? anticipating more destruction therefore not moving forward in order to not be disappointed and disheartened? circumstances so lacking hope that nothing happens at all?
i really can't believe it...

i'm glad you're safe now... i want to learn more. so just get back to the us alright, okay? thanks for this.

ha and i feel like your experience is worth a billion new bicycles.

Janis said...

Hi Sam. Thanks again for making the journey to Turalei. 10 days was a long time to be in such a remote area. How do we bring change to a country with no infrastructure, with 3 generations having little to no education, living only off humanitarian aid? They don't know anything else.

Please continue to pray for the people in Sudan. Pray for workers who are willing to travel to the area to teach and bring change.

Kent said...

Hey Sam - Happy B-Day! As always - be safe - Unc Kent

Stephanie said...

Just wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday!!! This morning when I left for work I yelled "Happy Birthday Sam" really loud so you could hear me. Hope you had an unforgettable birthday.
Miss you...only a few more weeks!