A trip to school in South Sudan

by Michael Ford last modified 09 Apr, 2019 04:46 PM

Two Cley Hill Villagers have just returned from a visit to Juba Diocesan Model Secondary School.

A trip to school in South Sudan

Photo courtesy jdmss.co.uk

Margaret Griffen and Dick Beath sent daily newsletters back to their churches during the trip.

The first letter told how they had arrived at the airport with two bags full of school items such as prizes, books and letters from sponsors and faced an 11 hour journey to Juba.

"We met up with a number of soldiers coming back off leave, one of which was a lady Signals officer, who was a Christian and we had a long chat with her, which was very interesting."

The couple spent time meeting pupils and staff at the school, and attended a Prize Giving Day where over 880 pupils gathered in and around the open sided tents and in the shade of the trees with 200-300 parents also.

Dick said:

"The American cultural attaché arrived and Margaret was able to brief him and find out more about how the US embassy can support this and other schools. Speeches were too long, but interposed with very good funny drama, poems and songs, dancing too. Programme overran by 1.5 hours and we ended up around 3.00 pm.”

They also met with a director of a Barnsley company which purifies the polluted water from the nation's oil wells using reed beds, which purify the water for use in the irrigation of forests and farm land, which are developing around the oil fields as a result of this technology.

"Fascinating role for what is a relatively small family company. Michelle’s father as a chemist developed this technology," he said.

Margaret and Dick also found out a bit more about some of the cultural challenges faced by children.

"In some parts, a girl of around 13 upwards is considered marriage material and families will 'sell' their daughters to a good bidder. One case at the school from a girl who was very bright: the brother heard about the family plan to marry off his sister. He alerted the school and the school had a conversation with the parents and girl, and the girl refused to agree to marriage. She went through the four years of school and was one of the top girls in the country," Margaret said.

The week finished with a Cathedral early service and a meet up with other colleagues at the CCC (Confident Children out of Conflict) Orphange.

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