Community Health Outreach Adventure

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.

Community Health Outreach

Ready to travel

The Community Health Project brings medical relief to outlying villages where health facilities are not readily available. Missionaries run health clinics teaching about disease prevention and proper hygiene, focusing primarily on preventative care for children under 5 years old. Malnutrition, malaria, dehydration from diarrhea and pneumonia are all major causes of death in young children and are all preventable diseases.

The volunteers travel by bicycle, or by foot and sometimes by boat to remote areas bringing medical help and spiritual hope.

A rural village clinic

Work among villagers with leprosy started 2 years ago. Leprosy is curable but the disabilities can only be reversed if treatment begins in time. Those already suffering from permanent effects need to be taught how to care for themselves. Because of the stigma attached to this disease, much love and mercy are needed.

CHO workers weighing a baby

A branch focusing on Tuberculosis treatment is coming soon. Samaritan’s Purse (SP) just started a program in the area and SIM will partner with them in the work. SP will take charge of diagnosis and leave the follow-up care to SIM. This tackles a huge need in the community and especially in the refugee camps as tuberculosis is a major problem.

Other critical areas addressed by the project are:

  1. Clean water needs
  2. Sanitation education
  3. Nutritional screening
  4. Mosquito net distribution

Nutrition Village

Young mother

At the Nutrition Village SIM and Sudanese staff treat moderate to severely malnourished children, most of who begin as patients at the nearby SIM clinic and are referred for extra help. Most are malnourished due to illness, not lack of food, although a few are deficient in protein because of high carb diets. The two most common illnesses are malaria, which curbs appetite, and diarrhea, which causes loss of nutrients.  Only the most severe cases are admitted for inpatient treatment and the numbers are limited to 10-14 children at a time, whereas in outpatient care there are upwards of 60. In the last 4 years Nutrition Village ministry has saved the lives of 1200 toddlers who were staring death in the face.

Nyajima sipping on her Plumpy Nut

Plumpy Nut is a staple at the Village and is given to all children, whether during inpatient care or to take home. This 500 calorie concoction is a peanut base with milk powder, oil, sugar, vitamins and iron, giving kids additional nutrition and much needed protein once physically able to ingest it. A blend of corn and soy flour with sugar and oil is given to malnourished pregnant or nursing mothers, ensuring their babies get enough nutrients and milk.

Staff members educate mothers on essential health issues. Lessons include important topics such as:

  1. Getting medical help early on
  2. Overall cleanliness to keep germs from spreading
  3. Breast feeding until age 2 boosting immune systems against disease
  4. Small, frequent meals rather than big meals common to Sudanese culture
  5. Good nutrition and eating a balanced diet, although it is more expensive to buy meat or beans

Snippets of Life

We want to give you snapshots of life and ministry in Doro, South Sudan. By now I hope that you have read my take on some of the various aspects associated with village living. If not check these out:

Plastic Chairs and Tents

Plastic Chairs cont…

Toilets

Prequel

Epic Canoe Camping

SIM’s ministry in Doro focuses on healthcare, clean water, education, evangelism and discipleship. We are highlighting these programs to give you a better understanding of the ministries our team is involved in. Check out the links below.

Take a look at the video below for a brief history of SIM in Southern Sudan and first hand accounts from Sudanese who have participated in services offered.