Uplifting reports from South Sudan
Moses Joknhial II, founder of Rebuilding South Sudan Through Education (yours truly serves on the Board of Directors) is in Africa, and the progress on key projects there is outstanding. We’re thankful to SF readers who have contributed - as you will read below some generous year end gifts enlarged the scope and sped the pace of this season’s work.
Here are some highlights from Board member contacts with Moses:
Happy New Year, Everyone!
Moments ago, it was wonderful speaking with Moses and our South Sudanese managers in Kampala, Uganda, and now to provide you with a report on project activities.
After finishing college on Dec 7 (congrats, Moses!), Moses left for Dubai on Dec 9 with the hopes of purchasing a truck. Though unsuccessful, he went onto Kampala and, within two days, he and Gabriel had found one to buy. It is a dump truck with 10 tires and can carry 25 tons. They negotiated a great price and, the same day, forward they moved in researching building materials for the clinic, women’s center, and latrines for the school. Along with good negotiations, generous year-end donations, and strategic work plans, Moses and Gabriel proposed a doable plan to finish the clinic, women’s center, and latrines in one season. In fact, their plan is for completion within two months. Ambitious and exciting! (Especially since we anticipated only finishing the foundations and walls this year).
Thus, this Thursday, a convoy of three trucks with 80 tons of building materials will leave Kampala for Moses’s village. Five Ugandan workers and four Kenyan workers, who have worked for us in the past, will also leave to work alongside our Sudanese workers. Local women will be hired to provide water at the building sites. Local men will make concrete blocks and be compensated with one Sudanese pound ($0.23) per block. 8000 blocks needed. Another set of local workers will make 18 trips to the riverbank to collect sand for making the blocks. At the building sites, Sudanese, Ugandans, and Kenyans will work together. They have been told compensation will be given for two months only and a unified desire to meet this goal is expressed.
The Diocesan office [South Dakota] decided to turn over the majority of funds to us [Rebuilding South Sudan Through Education] (RSSE) to manage with these building activities. They gave us a check for $40,000 from the project account and another $53,000 of UTO (United Thank Offering) grant money of which $40,000 is for the medical clinic and $13,000 for a water well. The Executive Committee has met to accept responsibility of these funds and to provide the Diocesan office with receipts. Any money not used or accounted for must be returned to them once the activities on the ground are finished. Copies of the Executive Committee meeting minutes are attached.
Additional funds from the project account are needed and, thus, I will talk with Barney at the Diocesan office if these funds will be given to RSSE or handled at their office.
While the above requires work on our part, a driving reason for the funds to be handled this way is that we are able to have access to the funds from our Great Western account and to wire it to Kampala more efficiently. The Diocesan office is closed through the holidays when our work is happening in Kampala. A check often requires two weeks to process and the process of wiring international funds is unfamiliar. So, all in all, this has been a good arrangement.
Last but not least, we still await a decision by the IRS on our application for 501(c)(3) status. Hopefully, no news is good news, but it is anyone’s guess how long no news goes on…! The accountant told me that it can take a few months or multiple months and there is no way to predict or reason why. Guess the best wish is simply to hope in the end we are successful!
Moses, our prayers and good wishes are with you as the adventure to your village begins. The amount of effort that you and the others are undertaking is beyond what any of us can imagine. We greatly appreciate all the good being done by everyone on your end to carefully and thoughtfully put to use the contributions made from here. Stay safe and well!
Blessings and peace,
Rhonda [Morse, Board President]
A Columbia University student messaged our Facebook Page with questions about South Sudan, and we were able to make contact with Moses for some short answers:
Can you tell me about main differences between South Sudan now and how it was before the independence?
“While struggles with Sudan continue, maintaining independence is considered very viable.
As before independence, major challenges exist as the Republic of South Sudan looks to build a national structure from scratch.”
How has education changed things with this new country…did anything change?
“The main change in education is coming through non-government organizations (NGOs), as ours, providing schools and promoting educational opportunities to various communities throughout the new country. The majority of the government’s budget goes to security and very little money is given for education.”
How are children learning about their new country?
“Most learning comes through conversations from elders, their peers and, in larger communities, through the media. Children are informed and included in community meetings and celebrations.”
And this just in:
“By the way, more funds have come in through the AGM [Alternative Gift Market] letters. I approximate the total so far as $4351. Amazing!
Also, we received a most generous donation of $15,000 from a previous donor in Watertown. He emailed me to inquire about Moses and the project. Sent him an update and he responded that his company had done very well this year and was sending $15,000. Moses worked for him as an electrician while attending Lake Area Tech.”
Thanks be to God for the great progress!
Your prayers and support are always appreciated. You can keep up with news via the above linked website and Facebook page, and on Twitter @SudanEducation.
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