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  • Billy Smyth

A game with no rules

Greetings to you all from a very hot and dusty Yei!

I went to town this morning with Rev Simon to change some money. I immediately realised I should have taken a cardboard box for the bundles and bundles of notes I got in return! We went to Immigration to get an extension to my visa, as it was due to expire the day before my return flight. They put a new visa sticker in my passport dated 4 Aug 2019. I hope they're not expecting me to stay that long…

Bishop Hilary’s vision is that I keep returning to Yei to progress each stage of reopening the Vocational Training Centre (VTC). We shall see...

It feels as if I'm trying to play a game but don't know the rules, or I think I know the rules only to find I’m mistaken. It is hard to find out where the starting point is. Just trying to get an idea of where all the VTC equipment and furniture is and what condition things are in is a challenge.

The electrics on the VTC compound are really in a bad state. There is mains power each evening from 7pm to midnight and then 2am to 7am. Don't ask me the logic of it.

Children of the displaced families who have taken up temporary residence in the VTC buildings run around the VTC compound all day. This is a dangerous combination with the bare live wires hanging about when the mains are on. I thought that all I had to do to restore power was to repair the generator, but now I can't untiI we get the wiring tidied up.

Bishop Hilary's suggestion is that the college reopens for day students so does not take boarding students. This considerably reduces the running costs and rooms required, but it would mean all the students need to be living locally. It would also be easier to manage, but a change in policy. Lots of things to consider, and wisdom needed!

Monday was the first day of term for the secondary school and so the pupils were out sweeping the VTC grounds and moving furniture. As there are still several families living on the compound, some of the school students will be accommodated in the primary school buildings down the road.

I am getting more used to the local food and daily routine of the kitchen, I have asked that I am not given special treatment, but it seems I'm getting it if I want it or not. Such is the care and hospitality of the diocesan folk!

[Editor’s note: Billy says he has tightened his belt 1 notch already!]

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