Yesterday was one of saying ‘goodbyes’ to the nuns at CHTI, who have been so hospitable to us and to our colleagues at Wau Teaching Hospital. We arrived at the hospital prior to our flight from Wau, to find that sadly the patient who Judy had operated on the previous evening had died during the night. In the UK his chances of survival would have been 60-80%.
We checked in at the newly refurbished Wau airport, which apart from the toilets in the departure area (which even Judy couldn’t bring herself to use), is much improved with a tarmac runway. Maybe we will be able to get a direct flight from Bournemouth one day???
We have been very fortunate in that the Undersecretary in Juba had arranged for WHO (World Health Organisation) to provide our flights via WFP, and their planes seem safe and reliable. I was delighted during the baggage check (normal checking method is a good rummage through the dirty washing, as the x-ray machines don’t seem to be being used) to suddenly find myself next to Naomi Pendel. Naomi, who comes from Bath, is a teacher who has worked in Warrap State, a couple of hours drive from Wau, for about 3 years. We had met before in Wau, and communicate by email so it was very good to catch up with her in person again.
Our flight was via Rumbek for a brief refuelling stop, and on arrival in a very hot and busy Juba we spent the night again in the Juba Bridge Hotel, which was nice apart from a very loud disco next door which kept most of us awake till 2am.
We decided a trip up the Nile would be a good end to our time in South Sudan, as we had the morning to pass waiting for our 3pm flight. Judy managed to find a guy with a very smart speed boat in the hotel next door, and we had a very interesting 1.5hr trip, seeing some beautiful birds and little settlements, and also visiting his small island…no crocodiles, fortunately!.
So now we have a 7 hour wait for our Heathrow flight. We’ve just said goodbye to Peter, who has gone off on his own for a week in Kenya (I think he will enjoy the lack of constant female company!) and is planning to get the night train to Mombassa tonight.
So it’s the end of another successful visit, with its inevitable sadnesses and challenges, but with much good progress in many areas of teaching and relationship building, both at the hospital and at CHTI..