Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back Safely!

I just got back into Nairobi tonight (Wed). I feel tired and extremely DIRTY! The Sudan is like nothing I have ever experienced in Africa! Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw and experienced over the past 6 days. It is wild beyond anything I imagined. There is a vibrant community of NGOs and other aid workers (mostly American) operating from Nairobi, Loki, and into southern Sudan. I have met so many other Americans and some Europeans who are working here. The UN World Food Programme has a warehouse in lower Boma. We transported tons of US AID up the 3500 ft climb to our compound in upper Boma. I don't know how we got that truck up that mountain, because it is dishonest to call that rocky trail a road. Owww! Right at the end of the muddy airstrip we saw the burned out remains of a UN plane that crashed a few weeks ago. That's what you want to see when you are coming in to land! I spent 6 long days up on that mountain. What did we do? We had meetings (negotiations) with the area chiefs, we made bricks, helped with construction of the second set of classrooms, conducted a pastor training workshop, trekked to several villages with a 60-pound generator to show "The Jesus movie," and maybe most important - we spent the afternoons sitting under the mango trees drinking tea. And then there's the truck getting stuck in the mud halfway up the mountain. We had to go dig it out. But we won't talk about that right now :( On Saturday the Murle tribe had a strange chest-thumping partnering dance - kind of like an ancient mating ritual. Seeking adventure, I joined in. When someone told me that I may have to take a Sudanese woman home, I ran back to the compound and hid away! We were in an area of the Sudan controlled by SPLA rebels. I managed to befriend their commander, "Chief Lino." It would have been awesome to pop off a few rounds of his AK47. I asked, but he said no. He did offer, however, that any of his soldiers would come to my aid any time. Nice! On Sunday we went for a walk to check out the old airstrip on the far side of the plateau. A few hours later we ran into a de-mining team from the UN who informed us that we had been walking through an area with landmines!! That's too much danger. Good thing we are off that mountain and back in the relative safety of Nairobi, Kenya.


Kerrie said...

Okay, so now I feel really foolish for the petty compliants I've had about my life this last week! Our biggest excitement has been getting dad back home from rehab and the new additions to our family of 2 baby guinea pigs named Snicker and Rascal:)

I can tell you our family is relieved you are back in Nairobi! We can't wait to hear more grueling details later:)

Our prayers for you and the team continue each day. Take care and thanks for the update!

Charles North said...

Hi Kerrie! Your thoughts and prayers are very much appreciated! I'm glad your dad is recovering.

Guinea pigs are trouble. Good luck.