Melons, Maridi and Twilight Showers

Ibba_2016_logo Posted by Ibba 2016 on Wed, 13 Jan 2016 | 3 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

Our time in Ibba is passing quickly – it is hard to believe that we are already in the middle of our last week here.

Monday 11th
Monday saw a return by us all to the programmes of work we have been assigned – we didn’t leave the compound. Well, none of us except David, who was brought many miles on Ibba’s roads to see examples of agricultural projects some distance away. This included travel by motorbike, deep into the Ibba countryside, where the roads could no longer sustain a vehicle, and then on foot, when the paths were too bushy for the motorbike.

There are many examples of new approaches to agriculture in Ibba – including a fishery, growing of experimental crops (cow seed, maize and beans). David returned with two melons for us – one we shared together as a ‘starter’ with our evening meal on Monday, the other he shared with the ladies who so graciously serve, cook and carry water for us.

Diane and Joan continued with their work on the Days for Girls project – the enthusiasm of all of the girls for the programme continues, with everyone having an opportunity to sew on the machines, two of which we have borrowed from Ibba Girls’ School. The ones we brought with us exceeded the MAF payload and so, the remaining items will arrive in Ibba on the flight that comes to take us back to Juba. It was the use of scissors which presented the greatest challenge, the girls never having used them before. Here in Ibba, things are cut with razors – imagine that in our health and safety culture!

Joanne and I continued with training – this time with evangelists and youth leaders in the diocese. The evangelists provided an outline of their work here and the challenges that they face. They fast, then pray, then go out to where God has called them to go. In their evangelistic outreach, they reported being chased, meeting armed men, having abuse hurled at them and witchcraft used against them – but put simply, they see their work as “the work that Jesus left for us to do”.

Linda and Carol were again working in the clinic – but also made a visit to a family to follow up on a young child who had been brought to the clinic earlier. They had the privilege of praying with the family and for the child to grow up to know Jesus.

Tuesday 12th
On Tuesday, we set off for a day to share with our brothers and sisters in Maridi – to meet with Bishop Justin and also to see Jane and Nina again. The road to Maridi was the same as the one to Manikakara, but further again.

We set off early, before the heat of the day, and our driver Peter safely brought us to Maridi later in the morning. Maridi is a much larger place than Ibba – it appeared much busier – but those who have been there before noticed a marked difference in the level of trade and general business.

The impact of the recent instability in South Sudan has had a real impact on the lives of ordinary people here. Maridi itself has seen fighting, although Bishop Justin was able to confirm that all of the refugees who had fled to the church compound have now left to return to homes around town as the situation continues to improve.

In Maridi, Bishop Justin took the team to visit a number of projects, including a pastors home built with brick and tin roof. There are now 14 such pastor homes surrounding Maridi – a true blessing to pastors who (as I’ve previously mentioned) are non-stipendiary.

We also visited Bethsaida – the church run clinic with maternity and HIV services. HIV continues to be a significant challenge in this part of Africa. We also visited Haddow secondary school. It is currently school holiday time – but we were able to see the school and the area for the new sanitary block for girls. Chaima college is nearby with courses offered in theology, agriculture English, community development and IT, with a library and working IT room – powered by solar energy!

To me, the most challenging visit was to a workshop that the Mothers’ Union in Maridi were running for the people burnt in the oil tanker accident last September. Over 200 died and 170 were injured – many of whom are still struggling to cope – some still have wounds being dressed. The impact of the loss of so many lives and of such serious and life changing burns on so many people from one small village was difficult to comprehend.

One of the participants spoke as we prepared to leave – he explained that the support previously from an NGO for lotions had stopped and they no longer had the lotions they needed to continue to treat their burns. This lotion was explained to us – it was Vaseline. Such a simple thing we take for granted and for which these people have a desperate need.

We returned to Bishop Justin’s guest house for a lovely lunch, where we were able to share more and say our farewells to Jane and Nina who leave on Thursday.

The return journey to Ibba seemed much longer as we were in the heat of the day. We passed one lorry stuck and abandoned in the middle of the road and another which had tipped over and fallen off the road – we were informed it has been there for more than two years!

On our travels today, we were accompanied by Moses, a tailor. Isn’t it incredible that God has provided us with a tailor? Moses has promised to make sure our sewing machines (those which we have brought but which so far remain in Juba) are well set up and in working order even though we could not be there ourselves.

We returned and everyone had showers in daylight – well Diane started in daylight but ended in darkness – not that she took ages (honestly!) but here as the sun sets it seems to quickly slip off the edge of the earth within minutes!

Thank you for your ongoing prayers, this has certainly been an adventure with God, and please especially remember folks for whom life is a very precarious thing.


Olwen Laird is a member of the CMSI Mission Experience Team Abroad from St John’s, Moira visiting Ibba Diocese in South Sudan. You can read her other blogs here.


Gillian Maganda said Wed, 13 Jan 2016 04:36PM
Delighted Olwen that you and Joanne have been able to witness first hand the committment and steadfastness of Sudanese believers! Very humbling and moving to read you blog. Praying for you all xo
jen said Wed, 13 Jan 2016 06:30PM
This is an excellent account Olwen. It's made me want to be there so much. You are doing brilliantly and God is just so good xoxox much love to you all
David Kerr said Sat, 16 Jan 2016 02:50PM
Great to hear of your hard work. Thanks for keeping in touch with us back here in the snow! Love and Blessings to all in Ibba.

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