Meet Neil, a short-term SIM nurse working in Doro, and Cornelius, his Arabic speaking, Sudanese translator. The rainy season turned their most recent trek to the isolated village of Bowish into a harrowing adventure through mud, muck and grass 8 feet tall!
The journey began Thursday as they sloshed through thigh high water to reach the town where a boat awaited them. Delayed by torrential rains, the boat never arrived. The following day Neil and Cornelius took the 3 hour, scorching hot boat ride to a village downriver, where they started off through the bush. This 5 hour walk continued to grow thanks to the tall grass they had to push through. Using a flip-flop to protect his hand and arm, Neil deflected the tall, sharp grass away from his face. Evening came and still no village. Dehydrated and exhausted, they stopped and set up mosquito nets under a tree.
In the morning, Cornelius found a nearby river and returned with some precious water. They retraced their steps for 2 hours until they found the semblance of a trail. Soon they came to a field where some teenage girls were working. Neil called out in Mabaan, the tribal language for this area, but scared, they fled into the bush. A few seconds later three men came charging out, spears drawn. Startled, Cornelius sprang up from his rest and Neil hurriedly announced his name.
Realizing it was their friend, Neil, the men began laughing, excited to see their missionary and his translator. They had not expected Neil to make the difficult journey during rainy season. The girls, they explained, had simply said, “Someone white is coming to get us!” The farmers accompanied them the 3 additional hours to the village.
Sunday morning, Neil preached in the local church and, after lunch, started the clinic meant to have been conducted on Saturday. By 5:30 pm, they had seen all the children and began seeing adults.
Monday morning, after treating 15 more patients, they started the long trek back. Mentally this trip was easier because they already knew the way. Physically, however, it was more strenuous as they had to fight against the leaning grass. During this 8 hour trek, they met only one person, a soldier who, although friendly, startled Neil as he seemed to appear out of nowhere. Neil and Cornelius stayed 3 days in the next village before giving up on the boat and opting to use a homemade raft to get back to Doro.
For the full account from Neil himself check out 8 Day Adventure! on his blog.