Newly built desks arrive by truck
In South Sudan it is rainy season. The almost daily rains cause valuable crops to grow. This is good, but the steady rains also make most roads impassable. The few paved roads, mostly in the capital city of Juba, are fine, but most roads in South Sudan are dirt, and become slick and rutted this time of year. With almost no roadside service available, most cars and trucks stay off the roads. The movement of goods, services and people slows and many kinds of work become nearly impossible. When dry season returns in October or November, there will be a rush to complete projects that are currently languishing.
In the few months before the rains arrived, Daniel was able to complete several important goals. Two wells were drilled, in the village of Pagook and at the Sunlight Primary school in Bor that Daniel runs. Two school roofs were repaired that had been damaged in recent storms. School desks, 60 of them, were built and delivered to two villages. Construction of goods such as desks have to be commissioned.
Materials need to be located, and carpenters hired for the work, as there are few off the shelf products such as this. When the shipment of desks is delivered, the village turns out to welcome the arrival. This is a big deal for young students who know they will be able to sit at a desk, rather than on a crude log bench or even on the dirt floor.
Schools continue to operate during rainy season, so Daniel continues his work of vetting new students for tuition assistance. PESS now pays tuition and living expenses for 50 girls, much of this through serving as a partner with She’s The First in New York.
While we cheer the progress, it comes with much effort. Since there is no banking service in Bor that is able to receive funds from the US, Daniel has to travel to Juba to secure the funds to make tuition payments for students at the schools and to complete the other projects that PESS does. Although the road trip is only 125 miles, this can take a full day during rainy season, that is when the buses and trucks can actually even make the trip. The short hop by air can cost hundreds of dollars each way, and Daniel often has to pay for several days of hotel stay on these trips. Banking has become a challenge, so Daniel had to visit the bank daily until the funds were transferred to his Bor bank. Business in South Sudan is often not an efficient operation.
On top of this, Daniel’s family has experienced multiple health challenges this rainy season. Malaria and parasitic diseases are frequent visitors, and these bouts often frustrate Daniel’s effort to achieve the work goals he tries to reach. These conditions are hard to treat because, in the small clinics available to Daniel’s family, diagnosis is imprecise due to the lack of medical resources and effective treatment drugs are inaccessible.
Daniel remains grateful to his friends and supporters who offer him a great sense of encouragement and strength. Daniel maintains an amazing optimism and cheerfulness, even during a challenging rainy season. Thank you, each one, for your valued engagement!
The new desks bring smiles to students
Daniel with Students