Water is Life

We are thankful for water.

Every day we pump water from the apartment complex’s borehole up to a tank on our roof. To make the water drinkable, we run every “golden” drop through a ceramic and charcoal water filter so that it comes out clean, clear and safe. We use chlorine mixed in the water to wash all fruits and vegetables that we eat raw. However, most of the time we have access to water straight from our tap.

When it does rain the Hills are beautiful, luscious and green.

When it does rain the Hills are beautiful, luscious and green.

Yet, our friends in Kenya’s Hurri Hills struggle to get water. The Hills, located near the Kenya-Ethiopian border, rise about 1500 meters on the Northern fringes of the hot, sweltering Chalbi Desert. What used to be a thick, lush forest now stands almost barren of trees. The altitude of the Hills makes digging a borehole impossible. Their only source of water is rain but this year they wondered if their catchment tanks would run dry. It didn’t rain for 7 months; from April until the end of October!

In South Sudan obtaining water is also a hardship. “Thirty-eight percent of the population has to walk more than 30 minutes one way to collect drinking water.” (World Bank October, 2014) It’s hard to imagine.

We are thankful for water to drink, to bathe in, to cook with, to wash clothes and to grow plants.

Downpour in My House

It’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is roaring!

This rainy season is like none other. Storms come out of nowhere, flooding our ditches, streets and compound, easily dropping over 2 inches within the hour. The wind slams the rain into our outer walls causing water to seep through and creating rivulets that crisscross our floor. This same wind brought down our lovely Neem tree that offered us much-needed shade during dry season.

BucketsAs the storm continues we scramble to find enough buckets to catch the streams that pour in through holes in the ceiling. However, this is better than the first rains where our roof leaked like a sieve, after which “Mr. Fix-it” and our director patched it the best they could on a tight budget.

Thankfully no leaks have sprung over our beds yet! But…our floors quickly become obstacle courses of containers and puddles in the deluge. Outside we don’t have enough barrels to hold all the water gushing off our roof and overflowing our drain spouts.

Muddy RoadsThe ditches outside our compound can barely hold the torrential rivers of water trying to make their way to the White Nile on the city’s edge. It is difficult to tell where the ditches end and the roads begin. The car parks become murky swamps and many roads are completely flooded. We can hear engines straining as vehicles struggle to dislodge themselves from the sludge.

As the rain slows people venture out to inspect and get on with their day. Pealing laughter is heard from children slipping and sliding on the muddy streets.

Then, just as quickly as they come the storms dissipate leaving behind the notorious Malakal mud that swallows your shoes, creates slip-n-slides out of the roads and traps unsuspecting motorists!

The Malakal team theme song has quickly become:

“Rain, rain on my face
It hasn’t stopped raining for days
My world is a flood
Slowly I become one with the mud”
– Jars of Clay

ECHO – Educational Concerns for Hunger Organizations

Miracle fruit

Miracle fruit

Miracle Fruit?!?

Did you know there is such a thing as Miracle Fruit? It prevents your tongue from tasting sour foods by binding to the sweet receptors on your taste buds! Awesome.

These, okra as big as a banana, toilets that don’t need water (I want one.), pumps made of old bicycle tires, living fences (I want these too.), and so much more were part of our tour at ECHO Farms.

Rower Water Pump

Rower Water Pump

ECHO is working to reduce poverty by educating and training workers living in developing areas as well as researching innovative techniques in the area of agriculture. They partner with workers in over 160 countries gathering research data and developing new methods of farming. Their vision is to “Honor God through Sustainable Hunger Solutions.” A worthy goal to be sure! They provide development notes, access to research documentation, seed banks, and problem solving help.

This got me completely excited about experimenting with a garden of my own using self-sustaining methods that we can pass on to our South Sudanese neighbors. I don’t know how green my thumb is but I’m ready to jump in with both feet!

What’s the strangest plant, fruit, vegetable or tree you’ve come across?

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.

Feels like home

God must have known we would be missing Africa at least a little, even while enjoying our time in the States. So in His sense of humor He orchestrated a few events to make us feel like we were back in Kenya…

Things like…the power outage in Aunt Mary’s and Grandma Goldie’s entire neighborhood while a thunderstorm rolled through.

In Kenya the heavy rains come and cause multiple blackouts for much longer time periods. Sometimes the power only comes on for a couple hours per day.

…Or the water mysteriously shutting off in the mission house . Turns out a neighbor was working on his irrigation and shut off the wrong pipes! But in my mind I was immediately wondering why the water “ran out”!

In Kenya we have to store up water and if I’m not careful the tanks will get too empty before the regulated days of city water come back around.

…Or the electricity going out during Aloma’s church service, so we briefly sat in the dark and strained to hear as the pastor kept preaching until it came back a few minutes later.

In Kenya it seems the power goes out at least every other week. Caleb and some of the guys would have to go lug the generator from the shed and hook it up to the sound system. The pastors never miss a beat! They just start shouting all the louder.

Ahhh! Home sweet home.

What are your “feels just like home” moments?