Sunday, March 18, 2012


KLC team returns early from Malual, South Sudan.

Two team members returned to the states last Tuesday, due to one team member having a flare up of a chronic illness (she's doing fine now, but another team member accompanied her home). Sunday morning after worship in Malual, most of the of the mission team left Malual, about a week ahead of schedule. The team experienced many successes, and several major struggles. One person remains in the Malual area for a few weeks, and several more have 3-6 weeks remaining in the Gambella region visiting with relatives. Everyone is healthy and safe.

Unfortunately, upon beginning our water filtration project, we discovered substantial barriers to success:

First, there is no natural gravel in the area, scarce rocks had to be collected and broken by sledgehammer into appropriate sizes in order to make the concrete and filter media.

Second, and most critical, the water filter concrete forms that we ordered through the technical college in Addis Ababa were defective. The steel was too soft, and we often had to make field repairs, additionally, the insides of the steel molds were rough, which prevented any of the concrete forms constructed being extracted from the mold successfully. We'll go on Friday and ask them to remedy the defects or return our payment.

Finally, the quality of cement mix available is very poor, and the nearest place to buy high quality cement is two-days away by 4x4, and cost-prohibitive for this community.

The team is working this week to remedy the forms, and find a new project for them (we already know two different businesspeople interested in biosand in Ethiopia). We'll regroup in the states to decide what water solution may best fit Malual. In the meantime, we spread the word about boiling water and using sunlight disinfecting (SODIS). We taught them about waterborne parasites (a prevalent one in the area is a worm that attacks the eyes and causes blindness--when we explained that the blindness comes from the water people were much more eager to proactively manage their water quality).

The team did experience several successes. First, “school” for the children was wildly successful. The children were eager to learn, and we held a several-hour class each morning, and a young adults session every evening. We supplied the school with pencils, sharpeners, notebooks, soccer balls and books. We also donated school supplies to schools in Lafto (Ethiopia), Gambella (Ethiopia) and Bethlehem (South Sudan). We donated “pillowcase dresses” and “bandana shorts” provided by generous volunteers and Little Dresses for Africa's large donation of clothing. Malual's pastor, Pastor Steven is eager to continue school, and is well-qualified to do so.

The team also provided some basic medical care to the community in Malaul, and supplied the local clinic with antibiotics, antimalarial medication, reading glasses and wound care supplies.

We decided to drive through from Malual to Addis Ababa for both the experience and for cost effectiveness of the trip. There were some interesting experiences on the way back from buying mangoes and bananas at a road side stand to having one member of our group (Peter) investigated at a check point which at the time was a little scary (upon discovering his US citizenship, the police left him alone). At the end of the first day, a six hour ride, we stopped in Gambella for the night and stayed in yet another guest house that was owned by the deputy Ambassador to South Sudan. It was very warm but quite comfortable. The next day we were on the road again by 10:00 A.M and drove 12 hours and spent the night in Jimma, a bustling metropolis (not even being sarcastic here—this was a big town) where the coffee is grown. We drove another day for about 6 hours and we made Addis Ababa by 4:30 P.M. We are staying the same guest house that the ladies were in before we left and were then comfortably set to spend the rest of the week in Addis. The next day we spent the morning resting from our road trip and the afternoon doing touristy things. The group decided that it would be fun to look at the Ethnic Studies Museum at the University of Addis Ababa and Entoto Mountain, which offers spectacular views of Addis from above.

Today Peter left the team, flying to Juba to meet his family, who he hasn't seen since moving to the states many years ago. Please keep his journey in your prayers, especially as the weather in Juba is even warmer than we experienced in Malual (average afternoon temps were approx 120 F, but a nice breeze off the river kept it from being too oppressive).

Tomorrow morning, we drive two hours to Nasaret, Ethiopia where we'll volunteer with the English Alive academy for the day. We haven't planned the rest of our week, but we're actively looking for volunteer opportunities as well as cultural and historic sites to see.

We feel your prayers surrounding us all, and they have sustained us. Thank you for your continued support--we know that the community of Malual feels it too. Please continue to pray for good health--we've all been much healthier than expected, and pray for those who are staying on to visit relatives in the Gambella region.

Much love from all of us! -- The remaining SSCRP team: Gach, Jane, Jess, Reuben, Judy and Coleen.

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