The Jungle Book and the Good Book

by Michael Ford last modified 01 Nov, 2013 02:23 PM

The latest reports from Reverends Shaw and Poppe in Mundri, South Sudan.

The Jungle Book and the Good Book

Jane and Andrew with the newly-elected Bishop of the Sudan Pentecostal Church

The intrepid priests have now completed two weeks' teaching at Bishop Ngalamu Theological College, seen vultures nesting on the roof - much like the Jungle Book film - and met some interesting people, including the newly-elected Bishop of the Sudan Pentecostal Church and the Minister for Education.

Jane Shaw says, "Even our walk to work can be a social occasion – one morning we were joined by three small schoolchildren who greeted us, then confidently tucked their hands into ours and walked with us the half-mile to the main road, where they scampered off. We managed to take their picture then, but we have looked in vain for them since."

A local church had a big celebration. Jane says, "The preparations started on Wednesday evening, so there was VERY loud singing and music and preaching all evening until 12.15 in the night. It seemed to be right opposite our windows, so no chance of sleep. Then, on Thursday, we escaped to College but the celebrations continued all day, were continuing when we returned around 5 p.m. (when Andrew took a quick photo through the fence), and continued all through the night, finally ceasing just after 7 a.m. on Friday morning."

"It is easy to forget what all the people we meet have been through, and not surprising to learn that many are deeply traumatised, and find it hard to raise the energy or motivation to pick up the threads of "normal" life and start working and taking responsibility."

Andrew had further travelling woes, noting drily after a puncture, "It was immediately apparent that when you are driving along, there are many vehicles coming the other way and travelling with you. Of course, when you are stuck, there is no-one else on the road for miles... The spare had already seen a full life and a major hole had been repaired at some stage with a needle and heavy thread!"

Keeping things in perspective, he added, "I know I have mentioned before the almost inherent hope that we find among the people. However, we must remember that they have come through what is nearly 50 years of conflict. This is a nation that knows there is a vast amount to do, and not just for the infrastructure, but also for the people especially those suffering Post Traumatic Stress and many other afflictions we in the west like to think we understand. A nation held back not least by the scourge of Landmines that prevent development of agriculture, among many things. NGO's are working hard to clear, but there are many years of work ahead..."

Click here to read Jane's newsletter
Click here for Andrew's

Previous stories:
Potholes, Dancing and Optimism 
Newsletter from South Sudan No. 1 
Off to South Sudan 

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