Revisiting the new South Sudan
Many of us watched on TV the celebrations in Juba and elsewhere as the South Sudan was declared the 192 new nation in the world. It was a historical moment and the end of forty years of war and struggle. The jubilation, the cheering and dancing was infectious as young and old savoured the moment.
Since my last visit nearly two years ago many improvements have already begun. In WAU Dioceses where our Sisters Jessinita, Rosemary and Angela are working some of these improvements are evident. The out-patients at the Daniel Comboni Diocesan hospital has been renovated, refurbished and extended. Already it is a hive of activity giving service to approximately 200 patients daily. Two wards have been repaired and refurbished and are ready to be opened. The biggest challenge is getting a supply of medical and nursing staff as there is a great shortage of trained staff in the country.
A short distance away the Medical Training Institute for Nurses has been rehabilitated and the first two groups of students have started their training. This is a project of the Union of Superior General’s “Solidarity with the Southern Sudan” initiative. Again the challenge is to find students with the necessary academic level to be able to start training.
The rejoicing is over and expectations at times are unrealistic. The challenges ahead to build the new nation are enormous. There is little operating infrastructure, the roads are in complete disrepair and travel between major towns often impossible. Most schools and hospitals need major repairs. There is an urgent need to train Doctors, Nurses and Teachers.
Side by side with the building up of structures is the great need of building up of the people. Many are deeply traumatised after forty years of war and conflict. There is a great need to promote forgiveness, to heal the past and once again to build up hope and trust. At the opening of the Bishops Conference the Sudanese Cardinal had this to say……. “The building of the new South Sudan has begun. It will take many years of patience, courage, hard work and a lot of optimism and selfless service to build a country to be proud of.” We pray that the Leaders and people of the South Sudan will rise to the occasion and know that this is their favourable time.
Sr. Miriam Duggan FMSA