Daily Archives: November 5, 2013

Trip advisor, South Sudan style.

Last night in Juba none of us got any sleep. Everyone’s exhausted. I’ve had an hour and a half of sleep in the past 48. So the team decided to not stay in the church tonight but spend one night at a hotel. I frankly would rather have slept in the church. I have slept very well there before, and probably would have tonight.
Nevertheless we’re here at the hotel and I’m good with that.
Now, my review.
We trekked through thick mud to get to the front door. The floor is mostly torn up linoleum with exposed subfloor. My door has been kicked in on at least one occasion. There are spiders all along the ceiling. The bathroom walls are covered in mildew, the sink drains onto the floor, there’s a large live beetle floating in the toilet, and the shower is what’s called a widow maker. If you don’t know what this is, it’s basically like hooking up a waffle iron in the shower head to heat the water as it comes out. Touch it, or any other part of the metal pipes while your taking a shower and you get shocked. Sometimes if there’s a steady enough stream you can even get a shock straight through the water. Also, I had to use a piece of torn linoleum to plug the sink so I could wash some clothes. There’s thumping music coming from outside.

The pluses: There’s working air conditioning. This is a huge plus. There’s a tv, though I haven’t checked if anything comes in yet. The bed is flat, and I don’t see any holes in the mosquito net. There’s running water, and a western toilet complete with seat, (also huge pluses). The door lock has been repaired and I don’t have to sleep with a shank tonight.
You would probably assume by now that I’m complaining and demand the immediate beheading of the manager. But you’d be wrong, because I know something you don’t. This is Africa, of TIF, if you haven’t heard the term used. More specifically, this is South Sudan. This is not the west. There are simply certain ways that things are here, and there’s no use getting upset about them. If I can sleep here tonight, be cool, and not catch some horrible disease, that’s great and I wouldn’t ask for more. In fact, I’d probably stay in a place like this again. Heck, I’ve stayed in worse. (I’m not kidding).
So I summary, if you saw on trip advisor under comments, “the bed was flat”, you might not stay there. But this is not trip advisor,and this is not the west. TIA.
Oh, by the way. I checked the tv, and there is only one prong left on the plug. So no, it doesn’t work.

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From starving to strong.

I haven’t been able to post in several days. I have a number of thing written, and will be posting them as I can. They will be out of order for the most part, so don’t let the order of events confuse you.

Today was a really good day. I will probably write several posts about today, but for now I am only going to focus on a couple things. This is now my fourth time in South Sudan. My second trip was exceptionally hard for a number of reasons. It was shortly after the referendum passed and South Sudan gained independence from Sudan. There had been electricity in the air before the referendum, because everyone was excited about gaining their freedom. The second time I went, independence had been gained, but the hard realities had set in. Independence meant that first you had to learn how to be independent, and conditions had deteriorated since my first visit.
Part of this deterioration can be seen in a video I shot, which I may or may not be able to post depending on where impost from. I met a little girl holding her starving, sick sister. I rubbed her head with my hand, and she was burning hot.
I had tears in my eyes as I prayed for her, and I was certain she would die soon. On my third trip, I didn’t see her.
Today, despite my lack of faith when I prayed for her, I saw her in church. She was still being held by her sister, but this time it wasn’t because she had to be. She was healthy and strong. Praise God!

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The smell of rain

I’m sitting here in the Freedom Hotel in Bor, South Sudan listening to the rain and smelling the fresh fragrance as the droplets hit the fresh, dry dirt.
I can’t remember the poet who said it, and there’s no such thing as google when there’s no Internet. So I’m going to do what Jesus did and just say, “it is written.”
.
“The world is full of the grandeur of God.
The world is full of His beauty.
It shines and shimmers like shining from Shook foil
Gathers to a greatness like the ooze of oil.”

This morning I saw the grandeur of God. If you saw Bor, South Sudan, and I told you that you can see the grandeur of God there, you’d probably tell me I was crazy. But today I saw it in the face of the people packing out the small church. It’s just a small pole barn with a sheet metal roof, but today it was a magnificent cathedral. I saw a group of people with what westerners would consider nothing, lifting their voices in praise and gratitude for all God had done for them and the lives He had saved them from. Gratefulness gives such a beauty to people and a beauty to worship that we often forget. It seems the more we have, the less grateful we are. Today I saw it, and I again found myself centered again.

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