Sunday, August 31, 2008

About Sudan

Country "Stats" :)
-Sudan is the largest country in all of Africa :)
-Capital & place of Goverment: Khartoum, found in the North
-There are 134 different Tribal Languages - the Trade Language is Arabic.
-They can experience temperatures up to 52'c (124'F) !!
-The estimated population is around 41.2 million (has to be general due to war and ongoing genocide)

The War: The most recent war in Sudan started around 1983 (the year I was born, incidentally) and lasted a devastating 21 years, and ended only in 2005 with the signing of a Peace Agreement between the North and South armies. Allow me to explain some of the tensions as I understand them...

There are 3 reasons that tension exists between the North and the South in Sudan. First of all - if you divide the country in thirds, the top 2/3's are considered "the North" and the bottom 1/3'd "the South" (just to give you some geographical understanding!). So. The 3 reasons...
a) Ethnicity: North - Arab, South - African
b) Religion: North - Muslim, South - tribal beliefs & 'Christianity'
c) Economic: North - Sahara desert, South - good farm land & oil fields

As you can see, there are enough reasons there for this great divide to make a war "justifiable"... In the process of gaining access to the vast oil fields in the south, the northern army "slashed & burned" their way through village after village. The people of the south raised up a "rebel army" to oppose the gov. army (called the Sudan People's Liberation Army - SPLA), and the 2 sides of this war were created. In the end, approximately 2,000,000 people were killed, and 4,000,000 had to flee for their lives and seek safety in neighboring African countries or abroad.

The Refugees: With the war's end in 2005, these Refugees (remaining on the African continent) started to return to their homeland... Trucks of people were brought home to villages long gone and replaced with grassy fields... Old war equipment, ammunition, land minds, and grenades strewn about were there to greet them. "Home" was not how any of them remembered. After these 21 years, as you can well imagine - there was nothing there for them to return too. Schools, hospitals, villages, water wells - all, either gone or destroyed. No infrastructure, no health care, no education system, no roads, no clean water... Welcome Home.

A New Direction

So... it's time to stop chronicling the general happenings of life, and start the information flow about Sudan!! :)

If you haven't heard yet, I'm on my way to Sudan - yep, moving... long term relocation :) I'll be Nursing in a very rural hospital in a village called Doro, on the east side of South Sudan. I am hoping to be updating my blog on a 2 month basis as well as sending out newsletters and prayer guides for all those interested... if you haven't been receiving either of those so far and would like to, please just send me an email and I'll get you on my "send too" list right away! Make sure, over the years to come, that you leave me a little note/comment to let me know you were here and if you have any questions or responses to any of the thoughts, stories, or pictures I'll be posting!

I hope you are up for the adventure along with me - this should be interesting!

Stay tuned for some pictures and information about Sudan and the work I'll be doing there in the next few weeks :) Lord willing I'll be on a plane in 4-5 weeks, so I've got lots I can tell you about between now and then!

Thanks for all your love, prayers, and support.