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It was my 3rd day in Malakal, Sudan on Monday and I think I truly experienced a day in the life.
Woke up and had some eggs and freshly baked bread from a Dukan across the street. Then I went with my sister in law and another girl, Stephanie, that lives in the same compound as us to visit some women from Darfur. It was very interesting to be in their home and spend time learning who they were. We had to wear sleeves that covered our elbows and scarfs that covered our hair. My 2 yr old niece came, too, and played really well with the little boy that was there with the women. It is special thing to see a little white baby girl (culturally ranked above even grown Sudanese men) serving a little Sudanese boy coffee and sharing food and toys with him. It was one of those days that will be impossible to forget.
Unfortunately this was the day I was super sick. At one point I was just walking hunched over because of such bad stomach pain. I was nervous it was Giardia, but it passed in a day (thank goodness). Note to self, if you are feeling ill, do not walk across town, stay put and don’t move.
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Today was great in Malakal. I met a ton more people, went to an Arabic church, into town for food, hung out with the family and just enjoyed the day. The church was great, tons of singing – videos to come when I have a better internet connection. The whole church would sing, then there were opportunities for groups of people representing each of the tribes to come forward and sing… which meant all the white people got a turn. So the six of us, my brother, sister in law, Avery, and 2 other missionaries on the property headed to front and did our best rendition of O Come Let Us Adore Him. It was a hit, at least I think it was. Though – following the AMAZING music from the tribes, we might have looked quite silly.
After church everyone files out and shakes every person’s hand. When you get to the end of the line, you join it and start shaking everyone else’s hand. I like that. Personally greeting everyone, even the teeniest kids. It was fun.
Here are some pictures from the day. Soon I hope to have some of the “Suk,” the local market in the city.
I made it to Sudan!! it took me 5 months it seems, but I finally got here! I know I have only been traveling since Monday, but in some way, the last 4 months on the road have been awesome, totally, but also a way to kill time until I got to come here to see my family.
I left Friday at noon and headed to Loki in Kenya for an overnight stay. The lady that runs the guest house there, forgot to get me, so after an hour of being a little nervous and waiting at the airport, I asked someone for a public phone to call, but my number didn’t work. Luckily, grace from God completely, he recognized the woman’s husband’s name and called him over (he worked at the airport). So he gave me a ride (phew!)
While driving to the compound I observed the indigenous people of the area, the Turkana tribe. Very interesting people – the women are super buff and do all of the work. They care for the children, do all the heavy lifting and money making and prepare all food, yet they are always last to eat. They wear thick brightly beaded necklaces, and beautiful long scarfs. The men wear short skirts, from the same looking scarf and just hang around town. I bet these women would be killer climbers, really athletic, thin and tall. I saw some potentially great cliff there, maybe one day I will get to check it out. (pictures to follow)
I had a wonderful visit, played some volleyball with the family from the guest house, ate a beautiful hotel that used to be full vacancy all of the time, but when all the NGO’s moved back to Sudan when it was allowed and safe again, it left places like this hotel empty almost over night. After a super buffet dinner, we headed back to the guest house for some sleep to prepare for the next day.
My first experience with mosquito net: a good one, I’d say. No bites! Woke early and by 6:15 headed out to the Loki airport to fly to Juba, connected there on a different flight to Rumbeck, and then on to Malakal and finally arrived about 1:00. It was SO good to see my brother, super fit and really happy. We grabbed some sandwiches and I shared my observation of how super tall and long limbed the Sudanese people were, and he kind of emphatically (not really sure what that word means, but seems appropriate there) told me, “just like you.” What? Really? I am tall, and thin-ish, but they seriously have the longest bones ever. Someone should google it and let me know.
Moving on, we grabbed some sandwiches and finally headed back to the SIM compound. We we arrived, much to my surprise, Avery and Allison were waiting on the step and Avery didn’t stop saying my name for 5 minutes! I have been storing up so much love for her over the last year, that it just poured out! It was so great to see her in real life. She looks just like my sister and is the happiest baby! I can’t wait to continue getting to know her. She warmed up in about 5 minutes and the rest of the say she was keen to play with me anytime. After playing at the house, Taylor, Allison, Avery and I headed to town for dinner food. The market was a sight. So much going on – so much business. Donkey carts, chickens, produce, everywhere!
Fabulous dinner made by Taylor and another guy at the compound, Andrew. A Darfur guy joined us for dinner, Mohammed, and I wished so badly I knew more Arabic than just “peace be with you” and “how are you.” Oh well, a gal can only do so much.
I am really looking forward to tomorrow. I am so thankful that I going to be able to spend so much time with my family over the next month.
Cheers, y’all – may God be with you today.