A seedling of an idea for Clergy support

Sudan_blackboard Posted by Yei 2013 on Mon, 21 Jan 2013 | 1 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

In church on Sunday I met one of the Elders, a very interesting and resourceful man, his name is Manoah Aligo Donga from Payawa, Longamere Archdeaconry in Yei Diocese.

Manoah has a very interesting life story. He knew Dr John Garang personally and although he didn’t fight in the war, he was a key figure behind the scenes setting up the future administration of what was to become the SPLM (The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – the ruling political party in South Sudan that was initially set-up as the political wing of the SPL Army).

Manoah had discussed the future with Garang and explained why he did not wish to go to war. Garang duly appointed him as his personal clerk with the remit of developing the political approach for the SPLM. Shortly afterwards, Manoah was tasked with touring the numerous refugee camps to retrain, enlist more recruits to return to war and fight for the SPLA.

When finally the war ended and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed, Manoah became a member of the Central Committee of the SPLM, a very influential position in Khartoum. He also became a member of the Parliament under the Government of National Unity and the Government of South Sudan.

When he retired he decided to move back to his home village of Payawa rather than stay in the city of Khartoum or indeed Juba. He built his family a new house and then decided to develop a family farm to help feed his family. Today he has a huge farm which sustains not only his family but also the Clergy in Longamere. He grows maize, millet, sorghum, ground nuts, sweet potatoes, advocado, mangos, bananas and pineapple. He rears turkeys, has two fish ponds and 500 beehives. He provides honey all over the country.

But the life-changing story happened when Manoah attended a meeting at Longamere Archdeaconry when the financial reports were presented. During the meeting one of the female clergy said she had not received her annual salary. As they had the records available they checked and they discovered she was correct. Manoah then asked what was her salary she replied 5 South Sudan Pounds – less than £1 Sterling! Manoah was stunned – he could not believe that the clergy were so poorly paid.

He went home and prayed for two weeks before asking to meet Archdeacon Moses with his idea…he wanted to support the clergy but not with money. His idea was to provide them with seeds or seedlings to grow food and hopefully sustain themselves and maybe even have excess to sell at the market. The Archdeacon was really encouraged by what he heard. During the first year Manoah provided each rector with 50 Matoki seedlings. In Year two he provided 5 advocado seeds to each. The really exciting result was in the very tukul (small house) we were sitting in – one of the clergy had a bumper crop and was able to make some money as well feed his extended family!

Manoah appealed that we could follow his example in other Archdeaconries. Alternatively he suggested they try bee-keeping – one Beehive costs only 180 South Sudan Pounds (£30.00) – and with ten hives, a good income could be secured.

This is something I’m keen to follow-up when I get home to Ireland. Do get in touch if you’re interested in getting involved!

[David Gough]

Comments

Umba Peter said Mon, 20 Oct 2014 07:19PM
I am impressed with this information about Manoah. I have meet him several times in several occasions. I also come from Yei but from Yei payam specifically. I visited Manoah this year in June and i saw his plantations, beehives and the animals. My suggestion is that his projects/programmes should be regularly followed and posted on the internet in order to educate other politicians about this spirit (self-reliance) strategy other than just waiting to receive pay from government etc. Best Umba Peter

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