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Food & Water for Refugees in South Sudan

by Alaska Sudan Medical Project
Food & Water for Refugees in South Sudan
Food & Water for Refugees in South Sudan
Food & Water for Refugees in South Sudan
Food & Water for Refugees in South Sudan
Food & Water for Refugees in South Sudan
Food & Water for Refugees in South Sudan
Food & Water for Refugees in South Sudan
Food & Water for Refugees in South Sudan
Food & Water for Refugees in South Sudan
Food & Water for Refugees in 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.

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Carrying well drilling equipment.
Carrying well drilling equipment.

When the ASMP boat pulled ashore, ten minutes down the Pho river from Old Fangak, we were met by the women of Wangnyanuor.  Their village is a 30 minute walk inland.  A place where refugees from the recent civil war are being encouraged to settle.

The woman divide the drilling equipment into pieces they can carry, on their heads, then are off.  Our plan is to drill two boreholes.  One at Wangnyanour and a second at Wongmok. Both are areas with many refugees.  Village elders and the local government have identified these areas as most in need of a source of clean drinking water.

Our ASMP drilling team, with their “Alaska Team” shirts and coveralls were eager to get to work. They understand the importance to their community and the refugees who are settling here.  Clean water is the foundation for good health.

Every day we receive new requests from villages in this part of South Sudan which have no clean drinking water. Our challenge, and commitment, is to bring our Alaska spirit, our resolve, and our caring hearts to this great need. 

During a meeting with the village chiefs we are told that clean water is their number one request.  So many people are still living without a source of clean water.  So they drink from ponds or the river and that alone brings disease.

Old Fangak had been a modest size village of around 5,000 people when we first came to help in 2008.  The civil war which eruped in 2013 changed Old Fangak forever.  This "small" village became home to over 50,000 people. They came on foot and by the river.  In some cases floating on small bunches of soil and grass which broke off from the river's edge and became their raft.

A long cue of people wait at one of the wells near the center of the village.  The women will wait for hours for their turn to fill the Jerry cans with water and return to their homes.  They might do this several times a day.  This is because the exploding population is taxing the available wells.

Over the next few months, neighborhood by neighborhood, we will be working to provide new sources of clean water.  The only real obstacle is money.  Each well requires around $5,000 in materials (pumps, pipes, casing, gravel, cement) and another $5,000 to bring those materials from Juba to Old Fangak.  We are in this for the long haul and have promised the people in this part of South Sudan that we are going to help.  Together we can get it done.

Drilling.
Drilling.
Meeting with the Chiefs.
Meeting with the Chiefs.
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Drilling team repairing borehole
Drilling team repairing borehole

This is the rainy season in Old Fangak, South Sudan.  The tuberculosis patients, who gather daily for their observed therapy, must wait in the mud, protected only by a few trees.  Many of these patients are among the 50,000+ refugees who have come to Old Fangak.  It has been a safe haven where medical treatment is possible.  Where there is clean water and food.   Here at the tuberculosis clinic, there is a water well providing these patients a source of drinking water.  But that well stopped working.

In days past, that would mean waiting for a team to come from outside of South Sudan to diagnose and repair the well if possible.  But not today.  Today we have a team of trained well drilling technicians—all Southern Sudanese living in this village.  The team quickly repaired this well and now the tuberculosis patients have a source, nearby, for the water they need to take their medicine.

This is your donations at work.  Not only providing new sources of clean drinking water, but also making sure the existing wells function as they should.

Our goal in the next three months is to bring the supplies into the village to make the water well at the TB center a solar powered pump.  We plan on erecting a water tower so that clean water is always available.  The tower itself will cost $15,000 USD.  The solar electric system a couple thousand dollars more.  The people in this village do not have any other organization to turn to for this kind of project.  Your donations will help these patients, the locals and the refugees, so that their recovery from diseases like tuberculosis is not hindered due to a lack of water.

We are grateful for the support and know that the people of South Sudan are thankful for the help coming from afar.

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Villagers of Dhoreak, South Sudan.
Villagers of Dhoreak, South Sudan.

The Alaska Sudan Medical Project is, well by well, bringing clean water to an area of South Sudan that when we arrived in 2008  had very few sources of clean drinking water.  Most of the 23 wells we have completed are in the area of Old Fangak--a village in the northern part of the country along a branch of the Nile river.  This village has become a safe haven for refugees fleeing civil war violence and has seen a surge in population of 50,000 internally displaced people.  This past December we drilled another two wells for the growing population.  And then we heard the story of another village needing help.

The tiny village of Dhoreak is an hour up river by small boat and a 90 minute walk inland. Until this past March villagers got their drinking water from a swamp which was brown in color, used by cattle, and filled with disease.  We decided that this village would be the next place to drill boreholes for clean drinking water.  We called our project two wells for Dhoreak:  Mission Possible.  

It was among the most challenging of projects we've undergone in the past decade.  Most of the heavy equipment and supplies had to be carried by foot in 120 degree temperatures for several miles.  But the villagers themselves said it would not be a problem.  Each 50lb bag of sand, every galvanized iron pipe, the gravel and cement--everything we needed carried to the village.  The drill rig had to somehow get across the swamp.  Canoes made of tree trunks became a makeshift “raft” to carry the heavy rig to where it was needed.  The water “mud” pits used for drilling were too far for our hoses to reach.  So the women of the village filled them by hand.  One 5 gallon Jerry can at a time.

So many challenges, including broken equipment, were met head-on and overcome.  Today we can report that Dhoreak has two working water wells bringing that community its first and only sources of clean drinking water.

We can only do this work with the help of caring individuals who understand that when we lift up the health of one small village, we are improving the health of the global community.  Our motto is “hope and health for life.”  Not just in South Sudan.  For all of us.  We plan to continue this work until people living in this area of South Sudan are all drinking pure, clean water.  Together we are making a difference!

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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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Organization Information

Alaska Sudan Medical Project

Location: Anchorage, ALASKA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AlaskaSudan
Project Leader:
Todd Hardesty
Program Director
Anchorage, ALASKA United States
$8,214 raised of $30,000 goal
 
27 donations
$21,786 to go
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