Theft, New Books, Helping Hands

Sr. Carolyn Buhs describes her life and ministry with Solidarity for South Sudan where she has served since October 2011 teaching new teachers.

Sr. Carolyn Buhs (center) teaches teachers in the poor nation of South Sudan.
Sr. Carolyn Buhs (center) teaches teachers in the poor nation of South Sudan.

The past months here in Malakal, Upper Nile State of South Sudan have been eventful. The teachers hadn’t been paid for two months. When they learned that the salaries had come from the capital Juba and the money had been taken by the State Governor to build his home in Nassir near the border with Ethiopia, the teachers refused to teach until they received their salaries. The next month the teachers were given one month’s salary and told to return to school. The teachers still refused. Now, the teachers have received all their back salaries and the schools have reopened.

We’re preparing our 20 pre-service students to go for teaching practice in October. This month our students are doing peer teaching. Some had been teaching before they came to the college and it is wonderful to see the ways in which they engage their classmates. God bless them! The new primary textbooks the British government gave South Sudan are a blessing. We hope these books have now reached the primary schools. We’ll see what next month brings.

The orientation course for the 14 seminarians is progressing. Getting into a habit of reading and not just cramming for tests is a new twist for these young men. The challenge of moving from education in Arabic to reading in English is great. I’m grateful for the chance to give a helping hand.

Sr. Claudette and I enjoyed supper with a young American couple of Sudan Interior Mission. SIM is an interdenominational missionary organization that has served in Upper Nile region for about a hundred years. Michelle and Caleb live on the south side of Malakia Market, very close to us. They’re in the process of learning Arabic. After the birth of their first baby they’ll move to Maban where the refugee camps are. What a blessing to share with such a zealous, faith-filled couple!

We’ve enjoyed the presence of several visitors. Brother Bill Firman, the Director of our Solidarity Teacher Training College, was with us for a week. Last week I shared his letter and photos with you. Now he has been appointed our new executive director and will reside in Juba. God bless him for taking on the responsibility of two big assignments!!! Another visitor was Austrian Franciscan Sister Gudrun. She had come last year and was able to return this year. I’m so grateful for her enthusiasm and willing help in processing the library books.

Our community members are also moving around. Sr. Barbara and Br. Tom are now teaching English in Old Fangok on the west bank of the Nile, in a quite remote place that requires a boat to reach. The Comboni Fathers are very true to their missionary work on the “edge of beyond.” They requested Solidarity to help train their teachers.

On my last visit to the market I was called hajja, the old woman who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca. That was a nice surprise! Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. God bless and keep you!