Sunday 21st April 2013

The day started a bit overcast but soon the sun burnt through the clouds to leave another hot, sunny day. We all knew that today we needed to make a decision about our flights back to Juba: go on Wednesday and loose precious days here but play safe or risk leaving on Saturday and missing the 5:30 flight from Juba to Nairobi.

DORCAS, the place we are staying have been very good to us and this morning we had an omelette to go with the bread and mangoes. The mangoes here are amazing, beautifully sweet and juicy with the bonus that they are not falling on our heads!

It had been arranged that our good friend Dr Majok would collect us and take us to the episcopal church, as it turned out to the Dinka service. The church was packed (they are in the process of building a new, bigger building) but we were graciously given seats at the front near the door which were slightly cooler. It was a long service by UK standards (2 hours or so) but we were made to feel very welcome and during some parts of the service. Dr Majok kindly acted as translator for us. Frankie was invited to say a few words and so took the opportunity to thank our hosts, the people of South Sudan for their hospitality. Ben had also been asked to speak and spoke well, weaving in some of his life story, his faith journey and the humbling story of Bishop Moses’ upbringing to illustrate how, although there are differences between us, we are part of the same Christian family.

After the service there was meetings with old acquaintances with Frankie speaking with some of the people from the university. We were then invited back to Dr Majok’s home for a banquet of a lunch and to meet his family. We had brought some balloons and bubbles and these went down well with all but the youngest child, he had been to Wau zoo recently and when he saw us for some reason shrieked about hyenas and us coming to eat him! He refused to come close and there was some gentle teasing by his siblings and cousins about his reaction. We all let him off, he is only about 2 years old!

Dr Majok then took us to Dr Garang’s home. Dr Garang is away working up near the disputed border with Sudan and it was clear that his family missed him. His wife and children were very welcoming though and were grateful of the photos we brought from this time last year as well as for the bubbles and balloons for the children.

It had been a full day so we then headed back home to discuss our leaving day. It was decided that we had better play safe and leave on Wednesday as missing the Saturday flight would have both financial and work consequences. It was a hard decision to make as our hearts were calling us to stay and take the risk.

We have been having much difficulty with internet access (hence these blogs being very tardy!) and so were kindly driven by our host at DORCAS over to Amarula Lodge to use the bar and the internet (in that order!)

Mission accomplished and home again Frankie and Rob decided that we needed to get the 12 lead ECG machine that had Frankie had wrangled from customs in Juba up and running ready for teaching tomorrow. Kate was not quick enough to find something else to do so became the guinea pig for the event. Much pressing of buttons ensued with Ben and Maddy lending a hand and soon they had figured it out much to Kate’s relief.

There is a very full day planned for tomorrow so watch this space!

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