My Friends of Seeds of Wisdom in South Sudan, I was blessed to travel to Uganda with my friend and SJE parishioner, Wendy Shepherd, to visit our families, teachers and children in the refugee camps where they have been displaced due to the civil war in South Sudan. I didn’t know what to expect; it was a trip filled with happiness and sadness. Wendy and I met Fr. John Lasuba in Kampala where we were able to buy school supplies, soccer balls and volleyballs to take to the children and teachers. When we arrived in the camps, we were greeted with songs and warm soda. They were so happy to see us and took portions of their meager food stock to cook for us and used their shelters to keep us comfortable in the hot sun.
Our administrator, George Okot, has done an amazing job of finding almost all of our students, families and teachers in 3 different refugee camps. With the support of the Board, he started a tutoring program to supplement the refugee classrooms (which have about 300 students in a class)and we have progressed to actual camp schools where the teachers are able to offer a more complete curriculum. They are making the best of a very bad situation. The teachers help the children learn love and caring, along with their studies, but the environment they live in is one of anger, fear, hunger, and an uncertain future. They read us a poem they wrote:
Education, Education. Education.
We need education in our motherland South Sudan
Pukuka in particular.
We the children in Pukuka have 6 colors
White for the face of the dying
Black for the face of the orphans
Red for the blood of the wounded hero
Yellow for the burning of our houses
We are very sad for what is happening in motherland South Sudan
Pukuka in particular.
For all this time.
We are calling for peace and education to come and help us the young ones. Orange for the joy of life
Pink for good food and rest.
Oh, our motherland, Pukuka.
The children do enjoy their time with their teachers and fellow students. We purchased a few solar lights for the teaching center so the kids can come around after dark to read and visit.
As I traveled through the camps, the number one thing people said to me was, ”Please, don’t forget us and pray for our homeland, South Sudan.” We don’t know when the war will end but our faith in God continues to give us hope. We pray that God will move the leaders to find common ground and bring peace to this beautiful country.
Cindy Krueger, Board Member, Seeds of Wisdom in South Sudan