I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our supporters and members of Athiolget Women’s and Children’s Health Association Inc. for all your support and prayers for my safe trip to South Sudan.
On the 13th of December 2015 I left Perth, Western Australia for South Sudan. I landed in Juba, South Sudan on 14th December where I spent twelve days. I was warmly welcomed with big gathering by the family members and many other South Sudanese. It was a great privilege for me when I addressed the community members about the main aims of my visit, and how it was an exciting time to be back in South Sudan for the first time since leaving for refuge in Ethiopia in 1987 due to civil war between South Sudan and the Islamic Khartoum government. In Juba, I had meetings to inform the community on building a clinic in Akot Village as Athiolget Women’s and Children Health Association Inc. main first goal. The community applauded the idea and were very happy to help in coordinating and sharing ideas on how to build the clinic.
Our Trip to Ruweng State
On the 24th of December, Mr Monyjok Mayiik, a graduate from the University of Nairobi and I attempted to leave for Panrieng, the capital of newly created Ruweng State. However, that did not happen as the only cargo flight to the area was overbooked and was running behind schedule. Therefore, I spent Christmas in Juba and we were able to fly to Yida Refugee Camp Airstrip, Ruweng State on the 26th of December 2015. We than hired a car to Panrieng town where I spent three days. It was a short trip between Yida Airstrip to Panrieng but availability of commercial transport and high costs are a huge problems in the new state.
During my three day stay in Panrieng, we had two meetings with the community members especially those from Akot and surrounding areas regarding my trip was aim at building a clinic in the area. The meetings were aimed at mobilising human resources in the town where some educated individuals, health workers and other skilled persons live.
Akot is remote and takes about 10 hours of walking or 1 hour drive from Panrieng town and has no health facilities, schools or roads linking it to other areas. There are no commercial transports to the area all year round. The area is cut off completely during rainy season as walking is limited by insecurity, wild animals, water swamps and basically takes longer to reach Panrieng town than walking during the dry season. This is a great challenge for those with employable skills to migrate to the area as only farmers mostly women are found.