Feb 21, 2019

The Dry Season Is Coming

February in Old Fangak, South Sudan is a time of hot, dry days. The rainy season came to an end in September and the water soaked earth is now cracked. The dry season will last for about 6 months, and during that time our team will be on the ground working to support our farmers and to drill new water wells.  As we write, a team in the village of Dhoreak has drilled to 45m and tomorrow, February 22, they will case this borehole.  The first one in this small village.

The dry season is a time of hope. With the passing of the rains comes the first harvest.  But then the dry season deepens, and farmers must find a way to water their crops without rain.  This is the scariest time to be a refugee. Food in rural South Sudan is scarce, to begin with. No matter where you are, and no matter who you are. But for some people that don't have land - refugees - the inability to grow your own food can be a death sentence.

The support we are bringing to 120 farming families in Old Fangak is critical. They will help to feed their community, and more bellies will be full. Our project has brought seeds and seedlings which have been distributed among the farmers.  We have brought watering cans which are a simple and effective way to water the gardens in the dry season.  

There are some 50,000+ refugees in Old Fangak.  They have arrived fleeing the violence of civil war.  Though a peace accord has been signed, many of these people will stay.  Their homes have been destroyed.  At least in Old Fangak they have clean water to drink, medical care, and the help coming via seeds and tools to start small gardens.

The donations have helped bring hope and a better life.  They are so grateful.

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May 10, 2018

Turning barren ground into food!

An irrigation foot pump in action!
An irrigation foot pump in action!

Great news from South Sudan! Over the past few months our farmers have been hard at work breaking up the concrete hard soil with iron hoes. They’ve sowed more fields and turned more barren ground into food.

This time last year a famine was announced in South Sudan – the first famine to be declared anywhere in the world in half a decade. And by the end of 2017, experts were warning that 2018 would be even worse. So we doubled down our efforts in training, equipping and supporting local farmers.  With your help, we distributed tens of thousands of seeds, over 1,000 hand tools, 500 meters of fencing, 20 foot powered irrigation pumps, hundreds of fruit tree starters, 5 canoes, and 100 fishing kits.  All of this to help our 126 farmers feed their families and their communities.

So far, our farmers have echoed a very similar sentiment: they’re overflowing with gratitude. Not only are they feeding their families, but they are selling their excess produce in the market, and actually earning an income – many for the first time.

When we asked how her crops are doing, Wichjak, one of our female farmers told us with a big smile, "I grow the okra, then I can sell it in the market. Then with this cash, I buy my children clothes."

Of the 126 farmers in our program 26 are women. Though it’s common for females to be charged with maintaining gardens in Nuer culture, it’s very uncommon for a woman to claim ownership over a farm. Often, the farm would belong to a man, and then his wife and mother would tend to it. We are thrilled to support the growing number of females that are independently starting and maintaining plots of their own.

We are confident that though famine is a true threat in South Sudan, fewer will go hungry in our small corner of the country. But there is still more work to do.

Small farm outside of Old Fangak
Small farm outside of Old Fangak
Jal shows off one of his watermelons
Jal shows off one of his watermelons
Onion Crop
Onion Crop
Aug 7, 2015

Without clean water, cholera runs rampant

It has been four years since South Sudan became an independent country and less than two years ago South Sudan erupted into conflict.  Since then human rights abuses have been rampant. Appalling and unspeakable crimes have been committed against growing numbers of innocent men, women, children and elderly.  The fighting has displaced over 2 million people from their homes.  We have remained hopeful that a peace deal will be signed and the conflict resolved, but as of yet there is no end in sight. 

Before the crisis began the needs clean water projects were tremendous.  Now, the needs are unprecedented.  The security situation has limited the amount of humanitarian organizations that are willing and able to operate in South Sudan.  We have been successful working under these conditions in the past and have every intention of continuing.  Due to it's lack of infrastructure, it's remoteness and the ongoing civil war, Fangak County has remained underserved by aid organizations.  Though there are several organizations working in the region, we remain the only one drilling water wells.  In addition to the well for 400 school children, we plan to drill two other water wells this year - bringing our total to 16 wells in the region, serving 20,000 people!

Clean water is so important for so many reasons.  One of them is the prevention of water borne illnesses. You may have seen in the news that there have been cholera outbreaks across South Sudan over the past several months.  Cholera is a diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated and it's caused by a bacteria that lives in dirty water.  We don't currently have a cholera epidemic in Old Fangak, which could be attributed to several things, but increased access to clean water is certainly one of them!  That is a fact that we are very proud to have been a part of.  We hope to continue to expand our clean water program and to one day give everyone in the region the opportunity to access clean water sources!

We are so close to reaching our goal for this project!  Thank you to everyone who has donated to help bring clean water to 400 school children.  Please help us complete this project by donating today!

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