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May 20, 2020

Clean Water for South Sudan

At work providing clean water.
At work providing clean water.

On a recent day, with temperatures near 115° Fahrenheit, the drilling crew of the Alaska Sudan Medical Project reached the water table at the village of Yedit.  This village had never before had a source of clean drinking water.  But after 7 days of drilling they were successful. From the earth below came a steady stream of clean, potable water. A miracle. As you can imagine the village celebrated.  Life was changed forever.

But we at the Alaska Sudan Medical Project celebrated for another reason.  This was the very first water well drilled by our all Southern Sudanese drilling team.  Our Alaska Team! Until now every well we've drilled was under the supervision of an experienced driller from outside South Sudan.  The new well at Yedit showed that our apprentice program has resulted in a group of experienced well drillers able to work when we are not in country.

Success on two fronts.  Training Southern Sudanese in job skills and putting those skills to work providing clean water for their people.

Since November 2019 we have drilled four successful wells and one dry hole.  We'll take those results.  There are four new communities with acess to clean drinking water.  And as we provide clean water we are also introducing agriclture into each community group.  Our mission of providing "hope and health" for life in South Sudan, starts with clean water and is followed by food on the table.  Small family farms.

Our training helps this become sustainable.  Training as well drillers and training as farmers.  Your donations help us do both.  In a part of the world where very little help comes from abroad, your donations are making life saving and life changing differences.  We are so grateful.

Our goal is to continue drilling during the rainy season with our Alaska Team drill crew.  We hope to provide clean water for six more villages before years end.  Each donation to this project will move us a step closer.  Thank you for your support.

The Alaska Team!
The Alaska Team!
Life changing and life saving water.
Life changing and life saving water.

Links:

May 20, 2020

The Hunger Gap Season

A $5 dollar watering can changes lives.
A $5 dollar watering can changes lives.

In our area of work in South Sudan people refer to this time of year as the "hunger gap season." It basically is the time when last years crops have been all used up and the next growing season has yet to provide results.  It has become a time when people are used to being hungry.  Sometimes it's famine. In the worst years, mothers beg for any help feeding their families.  Pointing to her stomach, and then to her mouth, one Momma silently pleaded for our help.  It is difficult to see, especially knowing how much we have back home.

This is the reason we are dedicated to helping small family farms in the area around Old Fangak.  Those families who have sucessfully diversified their crops suffer less harm during the hunger gap.  Their children have food.  Our longterm goal, as always, is to help the Southern Sudanese become self sufficient and equipped to put food on the table. The ultimate goal is no hunger gap.

To that end we have begun working to exand our program to villages within a three day walk of Old Fangak.  Recently a small team of volunteers set out on foot to canvas the villages.  Walking 30 miles, sometimes using dugout canoes, they visited nine nearby villages.  In each village the chiefs and elders were told about our farming program and our goal of helping them create small family farms. Each small farm equipped with the right seeds and tools to feed their families and hopefully provide more food for the village.

But they were also told it would only happen once we have raised funds to buy the seeds and tools and transport them to our compound in Old Fangak.  It might take 2-3 years before we could help and entire village. Frankly it's hard to look at someone who is desparate for help, knowing they are hungry, and telling them it might be two years from now.  But they understand.  They appreciate that there is hope for the future.

We can provide seeds and small hand tools for ten families for $1500 in each new village.  It's where we'll start.  Your compassionate giving will be used towards ending the hunger gap.  If we see a $150 donation we will understand you want to help one familly farm for one year.  It's only the beginning, but we understand that these small steps are leading to a future without famine.

Making a difference doesn't always require huges donations. $150 for one family is life changing and perhaps life saving.  It's an incredibe gift.  We are dedicated to ending the hunger gap—fighting famine with farming in South Sudan. The good news is that it is working and for a small donation today you are making a difference.

Distributing seeds and tools to small family farms
Distributing seeds and tools to small family farms
On a 30 miles walkabout.
On a 30 miles walkabout.

Links:

Jan 24, 2020

The Seeds of Hope

Jack Hickel visits Old Fangak farms.
Jack Hickel visits Old Fangak farms.

The seasons of South Sudan.  Dry and wet.  Planting and harvesting.  Food or famine. 

The recent news reports coming from South Sudan are dire.  Heavy flooding damaged the current years crops across a broad portion of South Sudan and almost a million more people are facing food insecurity. That in a country where over half the population does not know where their next meal will come from.

The international aid organizations are mounting efforts to help the current crisis.  Our goal is to help long term by providing the seeds, tools and training to fight food insecurity one family at a time. Seeds of hope.

It starts with seeds and seedlings. Onions, okra, tomatoes, melons, papaya. With a few seeds, a hoe and a watering can, the fertile soil can yield nutritious results. When we distribute the seeds, the farmers smile.  They are so grateful. 

On a recent visit to Old Fangak, ASMP Board President Jack Hickel wanted to visit with farmers, hear their concerns and needs. As we walk from homestead to homestead, we are told that $5 watering cans we provide change the life of a family.  Watering a small garden with a gourd can take hours.  The watering cans we bring in from Juba cut that time tremendously.  A family can expand their garden, grow more vegetables, and help themselves fight the food insecurity.

Training is another tool.  Stephen, our Old Fangak Manager, visits each farm to observe their progress and technique. In the coming year our plan is to beging offering classes in Old Fangak. Helping through education.

Our mission is one of hope and health. By providing seeds, tools and guidance our project takes the teeth from famine's bite. It puts food and hope on the table in South Sudan.

 
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