Boda-boda, boreholes and fond farewells

Ibba_2016_logo Posted by Ibba 2016 on Thu, 21 Jan 2016 | 1 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

Monday 18th
So we’ve arrived in Juba and will make our final journey on Wednesday. This will be our last blog from South Sudan. But before I update you on Juba, I need to update you on yesterday – our final day in Ibba.

Four of the team were asked to preach on forgiveness, the theme for January in Ibba Diocese.
Joanne, Carole and Linda went to the church in Wow wow (no prizes for guessing that Joanne preached there!). Nigel, David and Joan went to Atodigi where Nigel preached. Both of these churches were a short walk away from Ibba. Jenny stayed to preach in the cathedral in Ibba, while Diane and I travelled by ‘bona boda’ to Iggi which is about three miles away.

Boda boda is a most interesting, sometimes exhilarating and sometimes terrifying way to travel. Basically it is a lift on the back of a motor bike. Picture Diane and me, skirts to our ankles, both sitting on the back of a motorbike holding on for all we’re worth! Pastor Seth brought us safely there and safely back again. I am sure we were quite a sight to behold as we weaved around the potholes on the road.

In Iggy, we were able to visit one of the boreholes that was installed as a result of the fundraising undertaken in our parish. The impact that this has had on this place cannot be underestimated – before there was a borehole people had to draw water from the local river. As you know we are here in the dry season. The nearby river is little more than a muddy stream and the people here have no choice but to use this water to cook, clean and also drink. I cannot find the words to explain the impact that the borehole has had on their lives.

Before leaving Iggi, Diane and I had a beautiful meal which included what I can only describe as the most incredibly, wonderfully, amazing tasting pineapple grown by Pastor Wilson – we were still talking about it when we returned to Ibba!

The afternoon we spent preparing to leave. Some of us were able to get a brief access to wifi. This was a wonderful opportunity to connect with people at home – but the stark imagery of four of us standing side by side not speaking but each of us focusing completely on tiny screens was in complete contrast to how we have been living here – spending time engaging completely with those around us and them with us. Something for all of us to ponder?

On Sunday evening, Bishop Wilson hosted a farewell reception for us. The representatives across the community had been invited and many people joined with the people of Ibba Diocese to thank us for our visit. Many senior representatives from the surrounding area made speeches and we were presented with gifts from Ibba from the diocese. Jenny and Linda also spoke, emphasizing the importance of the links and relationships that have been established. What a wonderful meal we enjoyed together – the ladies who have been cooking and caring for us since we arrived must have been exhausted by their efforts!

This was also an opportunity to say goodbye to many of those with whom we have spent time. It would be fair to say that it was another late night – torches at the ready for all our showers!!

Monday morning saw us up and breakfasted early. Our flight from Ibba to Juba was 9am. Such is the way of people here that many of those who base us farewell last night came back to say farewell that morning also. The bishop borrowed a vehicle once again to transport us to the airstrip (reportedly the best airstrip outside Juba!). We hope that this may be one of the last occasions when that might be necessary. The reason for that will be revealed below on Tuesday, if you read on!

The MAF flights have been wonderful – how great it is when your pilot prays for the work that a team had been doing and for safe travel before he flies!

Leaving Ibba was emotional for all of us. We pray that the time that we spent there will have been fruitful both in the lives of those we met but also in our lives as we return home.

We dropped-off Jenny and Linda at Yei and flew on with Bishop Wilson to Juba – from there we went straight to the hotel which we’d stayed in when we first arrived. We will stay here for two nights before meeting with Jenny and Linda on Wednesday for our last two flights. Air conditioning, running water and a pool is a world away from Ibba, yet only a few hundred miles – the contrast feels very stark.

Tuesday 19th
On Tuesday we had a hectic morning. We were joined by the bishop and set off to the first location…the garage from which the bishop’s vehicle had been ordered! We hoped to see what his vehicle might look like – but we actually got to see the very vehicle – what a wonderful answer to prayer. Photos will follow!

We also visited Jagan Drilling – the company CMSI used to install the boreholes in Ibba Diocese. Over 10 years, they have installed in excess of 1000 boreholes, making such an incredible difference to many people across South Sudan.

Following this, we went to a local market to buy more material for the Days for Girls programme. Material was also bought for a pastor’s (rector’s) shirt. You may need a warning to bring sunglasses to church once it has been made!

We also visited All Saints Cathedral here in Juba – the location in which Bishop Wilson was consecrated. It was built in 1959 and remains an impressive building to this day.

Finally we visited the Lady Lomin craft shop – which is based in the Comboni Missionaries compound. The shops sells wonderful crafts made from women in Kajo-Keji. I think the bishop regretted agreeing to take five women shopping – some time later we returned to the hotel!

This afternoon was more leisurely – we took a short stroll from the hotel to have lashings of ginger beer by the Nile – a beautiful lush place in a very dry country.

Tomorrow, we plan to visit the local orphanage and possibly the teaching hospital before we head to the airport after lunch where we will, God willing, meet again with Jenny and Linda. From there we will all begin our final flights home, arriving home on Thursday morning. Jenny is staying on in Africa for a while – and we would ask that you pray for her as she continues her work here, for all of us as we travel and that there will be lasting and meaningful impacts on the people of Ibba and on our team from the work that we were called to do here.


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.


Roger Thompson said Tue, 26 Jan 2016 09:30AM
Glad to read all your blogs Olwen - they're really well written and paint a vivid picture of life in S Sudan. Look forward to hearing your stories in person.

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