I tell you we cannot keep up with the demand for these boys wanting to go home. Hahahaha! I love it. We brought six more to their homes in the villages this week. This story is amazing. One of our boys, Deng, who is 10 years old, is from a village that is an entire days travel from Aweil. He ended up on the street because when he was five years old his mother brought him with her as she was very sick and had to go into the hospital. The father is an old man and couldn’t care for him properly. The mother ended up dying, leaving the small boy to fend for himself! Deng remained on the streets for five years.
When we took him home he could not remember where his house was and they had to ask the village chief if he knew this boy. The chief said he did not know Deng. They were about to give up when Deng saw his father and recognized him in the market. When they approached the father he thought that my guys were the government coming to arrest him for something his son had done. My guys assured him that it was not the case. The father then folded the boy in his arms and literally started crying. And then he told Deng, “Your name is not Deng, it is Ngor”. So now Ngor has his identity once again and a father who loves him.
Another one of our boys found that his parents were dead and only an uncle with one leg remained. He is now staying with this uncle. These boys are crying to get off of the streets. Some of the things they do to each other are so dangerous. One of our boys came to us with a very swollen forearm. I thought he had broken it. Come to find out another boy took a needle and drew blood from a boy and while our boy was sleeping they held him down and injected the blood of the other boy in his arm. Another time one of our boys had others holding him down and they injected urine in the roof of his mouth. These kids have no clue of the dangers here. They suck on glue fumes and some of the older boys have mush for brains now. We preach weekly on this glue sniffing, against it of course.
They also drink the alcohol, which is almost 100 proof. They get drunk and do really stupid things. One of our boys came to us and said that his privates were sick, oozing stuff out. He was only 12 years old. He said in February he got drunk and had sex with a girl and since then he has had this problem. Months of this before he says anything! We of course took him to get tested for VD. This is the daily life of these kids on the street, anywhere in the world. We now have two social workers assigned to us by the government so we hope to get things moving quicker to get these kids off the street.
I attended a meeting this last week with other NGO’s like SAVE The Children and UNICEF and some UN departments. The government was bringing 128 refugees from Darfur, across the border to Aweil in order to process them and move them to their respective villages. These people had to leave everything behind. They arrived today. At this meeting they were asking if anybody could feed them for three days. Not a peep out of anyone! I said, “Iris Ministries can feed them”. So, now I am making many trips a day to the market to shop for 128 and taking it to them. We are the only ones who have giant cook pots and enough plates for everyone. Way cool. The Minister was so very happy that these people from Darfur could be received respectfully and hold on to bit of their dignity.
I have been shuttling back and forth in my little three-wheeler taking giant bags of maize flour, lentils, charcoal, tons of fish and fresh killed beef (how we do it here), and milk powder and sack of sugar and tea. I make at least four trips a day if not more. We also helped to manage some of the really sick kids as my co-worker is a pediatrician. So I made like an ambulance and did a couple of runs to the hospital. The majority of these children are under the age of eight. And the majority are without parents. From what I understand, they were abducted by the northern army or militia or just some really bad guys and somehow we got them back, minus parents. It’s really pretty sad seeing their sad little faces. Under normal circumstances these small children would be afraid of me. This day when I would pick one up they would literally cling to me. I held little ones throughout the day to give them some small measure of comfort. Sometimes that’s all that is required. Preach the gospel, use words if necessary.
On a brighter note, I have some exciting news. I have just accepted the official position of Country Director Iris South Sudan and have also accepted the position of the Iris Yei Base Director. This is something I never really expected or even thought of truthfully. I am now traveling back and forth from Aweil to Yei once a month until I can get to Yei permanently. The project here in Aweil will be finished I think sometime between October and January and then I will move back to Yei. I am very excited to say the least. My family in Yei is going to explode with excitement once I tell them. I can’t wait – haha!
Just another week in my crazy life. Each week I wonder what the next will hold? Jesus always has something exciting going on, it’s up to me to see what it is. Blessings to you and yours as June comes to a close. Pray for these little refugees, that they would find a safe place to call home.