|Happy to be going home!|
About five weeks after I originally left, I am finally back in South Sudan! As soon as I got out of the car after another ten hour roller coaster ride from Juba, I felt a sense of peace knowing that I am back home. I was pretty nervous to see the kids because we had been away for so long, and I was worried they would be angry with us. But of course I worried for nothing. As soon as I saw them, it was like I had never left. I was once again surrounded by the same, only slightly taller, kiddos, and we picked right back up where we left off, joking and playing with one another.
Ariel and I have been busier than ever, and are quickly realizing how packed our schedules are going to be over the next few months. I started right away at the hospital. Nothing much has changed since I was gone, but Sr. Meriline and I are starting to do more home health visits. This past week, I went with her two afternoons to check up on babies that were born last week. We went with the birth attendant that delivered the babies. I got to snuggle with six healthy and precious newborns, and I only got peed on by two of those babies! I am excited to do more of these home visits and provide follow-up care to those people living in the remote villages. The maternal and child health program is still slated to start in the coming months. We have a midwife that will be working at the clinic, but now we are waiting on some supplies to be delivered from Uganda before we can officially begin.
In school news, Don Bosco Primary School opens tomorrow. This year, the primary school has just over 600 students enrolled. I still don't know what I will be teaching this year, and when I asked the Sister in charge of the school, she told me that she would tell me tomorrow morning before school starts. So looks like the first week will be pretty laid back since I won't have any time to lesson plan. It will be so great to see all the kids bright and early tomorrow morning!
|My new friends in Nairobi|
|When in Kenya...|
The past month has definitely been a testament to the flexibility and fluidity of mission life. Although it was difficult to leave the kids for an unknown amount of time, I am so grateful for the experiences and the people I met in Kenya. Ariel and I didn't want to commit to teaching or other work without knowing how long we would be there, so we just did random projects and helped in any way we could. The place we stayed was a retreat and conference center, and they had a large group there while we were also there. We helped prepare for the group by doing a lot of cooking and cleaning. We also helped with the after-school program for the kids from the area. It was quite different from working with the kids in South Sudan, but they were so welcoming and fun to be around. The religious community we stayed with went above and beyond to make sure we felt at home. The rector of the community, who introduced us to everybody as the two refugees from South Sudan, took us to visit the other Don Bosco sites around Nairobi. It was great to see the amazing work the Salesians are doing in Kenya. He also took us to do some fun things around the city--watching cultural dances, kissing giraffes, and discovering new places. I had been watching and reading the news to keep up with the situation in South Sudan. I kept hearing that things were getting progressively better, but I still was shocked (and SO happy) that we were able to come back as soon as we did. Although it wasn't the "mission" I had in mind coming into this year, it was equally as fulfilling, and I saw God working in so many people and experiences while there. I formed some great friendships in my short three weeks in Kenya, and it was hard to leave those people, but it feels so great to be back home where I left a piece of my heart.
So here I am now--right back in the middle of a crazy, busy, kid-filled life. I can't even begin to imagine what the next months of mission will bring, but for now I am just so happy to be back in my home sweet home!