Aweil Street Boys and Yei Building Projects

This week started off as usual with a trip to the hospital. We finally got to take Sebit for his leg surgery. When the doctor went in and started to clean the wound he found that it had eaten away the flesh all the way down to the bone. He was able to clean it good and now Sebit has been in the hospital all week receiving IV antibiotics and dressing changes. We are told that we can bring him home on Monday. We will then have to continue for another five weeks of IV antibiotics. I don’t even want to think of the cost of all this. BUT, if we hadn’t have found him he would have died or at the very least lost his leg, so the cost isn’t too high a price to pay for him.

Construction began on our girl’s dorm on Monday and it will already be finished this coming week! We had a nice concrete slab already poured and an open-air half-walled building already in place and so I had this turned into a dorm house. It is the biggest building on our compound and so perfect now for the dorm. We also have our prayer hut still going up, although a bit slowly. This was sponsored by a man I met in Mozambique. The children are still asking when it will be ready so we can go worship there. We are still having our times of worship and prayer a few times a week and the kids are still hungry for more.

Finally, tomorrow the building will begin on our new pit latrine for the girls. We have had one latrine where the boys and girls are right next door to each other. This is how it was when I arrived. I finally have the funding to build a separate one for the girls. If you can imagine trying to have a personal moment with a line of kids outside and someone of the opposite sex on the other side of the wall from you. Poor kids. Our girls have been walking up to our school just to use the latrine there for more privacy. These things we never think about in the West are daily happenings here. I will never turn this compound into an Americanized institution but I will try and make it a little more likeable to all concerned. We also built a shade/rain structure over the area where our boys like to eat. The children are very encouraged by all this building as they know we are staying put and not running anymore.

The tension in this country can still be felt far and wide. Nothing has been agreed upon concerning the demands of the two adversaries, Salva Kiir and Riek Machar. They are still demanding what they want and neither is budging much. This stubbornness is what caused the Coup in the first place. So, everyone is walking around on a high tension wire waiting for another fall. My friend who lives in the capital city of Juba says that even violent crime is on the rise there because of all this tension. She is having some of the older girls return to study at a vocational school there but is asking me to keep their beds open in case they have to run back here. I am just so glad that I am now in Yei.

My pastor is staying in contact with me from Aweil and has informed me that school fees are due. Of the 85 street boys that we returned home last year, 66 are still there at home and still want to go to school. Praise Jesus! I am trying to organize paying all their school fees, buying their new school supplies and paying all the transportation for my pastor to go to all of their villages to handle all this. Right now we are estimating this at about $800 as we work out all the details. On our side here in Yei I just paid all our kids school fees – whew! Grand total? It is $2,100 and then another $2,376. I guess for 138 kids that’s not too bad. But if you are living in a third world country stricken by poverty, you wonder how people can afford all this! This doesn’t even include school supplies and shoes…. So I will be happy when February is done and all of our building and school costs and new beds I have to order with sheets etc…. is finished.

Today I took a small break from all my work and made balloon shapes and hats for the children. There are always a ton of smiles but also a ton of cries as balloons pop on the dry grass when carried away on the wind. For the little ones we give them another. One kind of feels bad for them….

Tuesday I have to go to Uganda for four days to get some supplies and money. I am praying for at least one of those days to be restful. The other missionary who is helping me asked me what I do for fun on Saturdays. I replied, “I work”. Not voluntarily! There is just always stuff that has to get done no matter what day it is. This week I have been leaving the compound very early to shuttle breakfast and caretakers back and forth from the hospital, as we have to go three times a day to bring food. I have been making the trip twice a day all week. I have to hurry and get my fellow missionary trained in the driving aspect here on these crazy roads and in the mud.

Today, Sunday, I decided that we really need to make a small cage for Habibi our monkey. She refuses to stay on the compound when the kids leave enmasse and she follows us to church every week. If you can imagine a monkey in church, climbing in the rafters, climbing on the heads of small kids because that’s what she likes to do, and rolling around on the floor while we are trying to have some semblance of a service…. Yep, pretty chaotic. Between Habibi and Mercy my hands are full!