August 7, 2015 § 3 Comments
This morning, I awake in my net-covered bed to the sound of crickets chirping and a rooster crowing. I stumble into green flip flops, eyes half-closed, and lift the patterned curtain that serves as a door to the room I share with three other Seed Effect volunteers. I am still drowsy, still want more sleep, but when I see the gold-tinted bulbous clouds and Alice, the sweet South Sudanese woman who wakes before dawn to cook eggs and flat bread for our breakfast, the sleep washes away and I am alert.
I don a blue skirt, grey shirt (a shirt I’ve worn for four days now), my big round sunglasses and baseball cap. When I cross the compound, I see a group of kids pumping water from a nearby well. Another South Sudanese woman, whose name I haven’t learned yet but know as the woman who carries the baby swaddled on her back, calls out to me, “Lizzie! You look good!”
After breakfast, we stand around the compound, waiting for the bus. Harmony, a four-year old girl who rides with us on the bus to school every day, sits beside me, chomping down on a hunk of flatbread. We giggle about how her blue shorts and shirt matches my blue skirt. Another boy, Mike, comes over with a red blow-up ball one of the other volunteers has given him, and we play volleyball. He wins; six to four.
Harmony sits by me on the bus to the Seed Effect offices, a ten minute drive down a bumpy dirt road. We pass a woman walking on the side off the road wearing a black business dress and heals. A few minutes later, she passes us in a cloud of dust seated sidesaddle on the back of a motorcycle. We pass children on the way to school, too, some as little as three or four, carrying yellow water buckets that need to be filled. They yell, “Hieee!” and “Galatot!” which is Kuku for “white person.”
I am astonished by the beauty of this place. For some reason, I expected a dusty desert, a suffering people; that’s what you might think from everything you hear on the news. But the South Sudanese are full of joy and kindness, and their country is lush and green. I feel happier here than I have in some time, and I want to say something about the peace and simplicity of rural life, but I know that would be too cliche, too uninformed. So I’ll just say this: South Sudan is beautiful, and I am glad to be here.
August 5, 2015 § 1 Comment
I only got two hours of sleep last night. I am tired. But after hearing the stories of the South Sudanese, my exhaustion seems a small cross to bare.
The first Seed Effect client we meet has malaria. Another has typhoid. Another has a granddaughter, toddler age, with malaria as well. She sleeps in a thatched hut on a floor behind a table filled with red onions and garlic and plastic bins of dried beans. Flies buzz around her head.
I see other children, bare footed in the muddy brown street, and I don’t ask their stories; I don’t want to know. Instead, I take the greasy hand of a little boy who’s smiling. When I make a face at him, he hides behind his friend. We shake hands again, and again and again, playing a game of sly smiles and handshakes.
He and his friends are so happy, laughing and giggling and reaching for my pale hand. And the clients, too, when we ask them, say that their hearts are happy. They say they thank God, for their businesses, for their families, for the loans provided by Seed Effect. I can’t count the number of times I have heard, “Praise the Lord.” More times about more things than I’ve ever thought to say. I would probably think it off-putting to give thanks so frequently.
The sun is setting, the sky is milky blue, the clouds soft and whispy against green fields and thatched roofs. I am tired from two days travel, from little sleep, from a day walking. But I am in South Sudan, and as the South Sudanese say, Praise the Lord.
May 19, 2015 § Leave a comment
As many of you know, I’m going on a mission trip to South Sudan in August which I’m having to raise a substantial amount of money for.
A lovely painter I know created these prints which she’s letting me sell to raise funds:
They are 11″ x 14″ in dimension, $25 each.
Top left : Mosaic
Top right : Deep
Bottom left : To the Core
Bottom right : Rose
If you’d like to purchase one, either:
- send me a message on social media, or
- go to my Seed Effect fundraising page and click DONATE. Each print is $25 so … donate $25 / $50 / etc. for however many you want to purchase. Fill in all of your information there. In the donation message space please let me know which prints you’d like to purchase. If I’m mailing them to you, please include your mailing address in that email as well!
Please let me know if you have any questions about the trip or the paintings 🙂
Much love, Lizzie
April 28, 2015 § Leave a comment
I don’t know how to start this blog post.
I don’t like asking for money.
I don’t like not being in control.
This summer, I am going on a mission trip to South Sudan.
I have never been on a mission trip before.
I have never raised money for a mission trip, either.
South Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world.
About a year and a half ago, it was ravaged by civil war.
Before that, there were more wars.
There is still fighting in northern parts of South Sudan.
I am going to a safe, rural town in the southern part of South Sudan.
I am going with Seed Effect,
a Christian nonprofit that gives microfinance loans to entrepreneurs.
Many of these entrepreneurs are women.
They sell mostly agricultural goods.
A number of them have HIV.
To go to South Sudan, I have to raise $4,500.
To go to South Sudan, I am putting together a prayer team.
If you’re interested…
would you pray for me?
would you pray for the other volunteers?
would you pray for the South Sudanese?
would you donate to my trip?
For more information, to donate or pray, visit my fundraising website.