A Final Post from Paul

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Paul here with some final thoughts. As was mentioned earlier today was a day of lasts.  Our last chance to accomplish tasks, our last meal of rice and beans, our last cool shower in the evening.

I must admit it's been a trip with its share of ups and downs.  There are frustrations and hardships here not encountered elsewhere.  But there are people here, generous and kind, full of good humor, introspective and wondering how to improve their country.  Dr. Gai is excellent example.  A surgeon in South Sudan is a rare thing and to have good Sudanese surgeon on our staff is a real blessing.  I assure you that he could do much better for himself financially if he wanted to.

I took a moment today to sit with him and learn more about his life and how he came to be with us.  I thought the result might be of general interest.

Dr Gai has been working at MCH since the first of June 2012.  Previous to that he was in Yeman for 11 years and then previous to that in Khartoum.  His father was the general director of health services in Jonglei state.  Because of the first civil war he left for the North to practice in the Blue Nile province as a medical inspector.

Dr Gai was born in Bor in 1962.  He primary schooling was in Upper Nile province and then Aljazera.  After the signing of the first cease fire his family moved back to Bor and he went to secondary school in Rumbeck.  Following that he attended college at Alexandria University in Egypt.  He starting studying in Gynecology but then moved to Yeman and finished his diploma work there as a surgeon.  After that he spent time working in the private sector and doing volunteer work in the state hospital in Dhamar.

He also worked in Khartoum serving the South Sudanese ethnic minority there.  In Khartoum South Sudanese are not allowed to live in the central areas and few physicians are willing to travel out to serve their needs.  Dr. Gai said that there was a great need for his services there.

With the end of the civil war he came back to Juba to do volunteer work in 2010 in an effort to do his part in helping South Sudan begin as a new nation.  He was living off of savings while living with his relatives in Juba.

Deng Jongkuch approached him through a relative about the possibility of coming to MCH.  He was initially very skeptical about the idea but changed his mind when he learned that it was a non-profit Christian hospital.  Dr. Gai talked to me several times about his faith and his conviction that he must walk in the path of Christ in all that he does.  Living his convictions and avoiding immorality are central to his walk.

Dr Gai has never traveled to the USA but feels he knows a lot about America based on the books he has read and movies he has seen.  He mentioned Arnold Schwarzenegger as a favorite actor.  When I asked him what in the USA he would like to visit he mentioned the Great Lakes because he does not know as much about them.

He was married in 1994 in Khartoum and separated in 2006.  He has a son, 13 years old living with his Aunt in Khartoum.  He considers his Aunt his second Mother as both his mother and father have passed away.  He hopes to move his son locally as soon as he can get him a South Sudanese passport.

Well folks, this will be the last of my posts from Werkok.  Firstly because we are leaving but also because the computer I am using will be remaining here.  Lord willing we will be in Nairobi tomorrow night and back in the USA on Monday.

Take care and thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

Paul Bixel