south sudan

Walking on a Fish Bone

12-year-old Ayak and her brother walked to Memorial Christian Hospital from their home village about 30 miles away. The girl was suffering from a sharp pain in the bottom of her foot which made the long journey on muddy dirt roads seem even longer. The children had first walked to the State Civil Hospital in Bor town, but the hospital has no X-Ray machine and was not able to diagnose the problem. The doctor at the state hospital referred the girl to MCH for X-Ray services since MCH has the only x-ray machine to serve the 1.4 million people in the region. Upon examining Ayak’s foot, MCH nurse Abraham Maduk found localized swelling in the painful area and what seemed to be a foreign object in the midst of the swelling. Grateful for the new x-ray machine at MCH, Abraham sent Ayak to the x-ray technician, Deng Bol.

fish bone x-ray
fish bone x-ray

Deng took two images of Ayak’s foot and found that she had a large, sharp fish bone in the bottom of her foot. Ayak’s brother said that in September of 2014, Ayak was playing barefoot in the Nile river near where the fish bones are dumped. She had been walking on this fish bone for almost a year. With the help of the x-ray, MCH staff were able to diagnose Ayak's problem.

Ayak’s family is grateful God led people to give to Partners in Compassionate Care which provides safe and affordable healthcare through the work of Memorial Christian Hospital. While MCH does charge a small fee for services, no patient is turned away because they cannot pay for treatment. In Ayak’s situation, the family paid a small fee of 65 SSP ($10) for the x-ray.

Without an x-ray in the area, the cost would have been much more. Ayak and her brother would have had to travel to Juba and pay either 1000 SSP ($200) for round trip airfare or 300 SSP for a very dangerous road trip. The family would also have the expense of food and accommodations in Juba. The x-ray services in Juba would have cost the family about 200 SSP ($30). Her brother would have to take time off from the family farm, which would had result in a loss of food for this farming season.

Time for Farming in Werkok

Farming God's Way demonstration plot.
Farming God's Way demonstration plot.
Newly ploughed land around the MCH compound.
Newly ploughed land around the MCH compound.

The rainy season is the time to raise crops in the village of Werkok. The challenges of insecurity over the last year have caused a severe food shortage, and it is very important that the agricultural season is successful this year.

To help meet the need of both the community and Memorial Christian Hospital (MCH), the staff decided to ask the government for some help. Two tractors were sent to the compound and the majority of the unused land was tilled to prepare for planting. The land was divided up into plots that each MCH staff member would care for. Some land was also provided for the general needs of the hospital compound and other land was made available to members of the community.

MCH Farm Manager, Michael Maguet, also make a demonstration plot utilizing the Farming God's Way techniques he learned during his training with Partners in Compassionate Care board member, Dan Janzen, last year. He planted okra in the demonstration plot and plans to compare the results with the okra planted in the traditional manner.

Land Use Agreement Signed

meeting with chiefs
meeting with chiefs

On a recent visit to South Sudan, Partners in Compassionate Care's Executive Director, Kevin Kinsinger, met with village chiefs to sign a land use agreement for the property on which Memorial Christian Hospital is built. PCC has been a guest of the village of Werkok since 2005. We've operated on a 40 acre plot, in cooperation with the village, with a verbal agreement for the use of the land. The need for a formal agreement came about as we work towards the goal of turning the management of the hospital over to local leadership. We want to make this transition with all paperwork up-to-date so that the new administration is able to assume their new role as smoothly as possible.

signing-mou-e1418334823754.jpg

While there was no opposition to the land use agreement, these types of things take time to make sure that everyone is well informed and comfortable. There were some who questioned why the agreement needed to be in writing since we've cooperated with a verbal agreement for so long. We explained that this was a requirement of the government of South Sudan in order for the hospital to be in compliance with non-profit status. It was agreed that the document was necessary, but to make sure that all the chiefs were able to have input and sign the document, the Executive Chief asked that the meeting regroup in two day's time.

The second meeting began mid-afternoon and went well after dark. On Saturday, November 22, 2014 the village of Werkok and Partners in Compassionate Care agreed to formalize the land use agreement on paper.

The vision for MCH from the very beginning is for the hospital to be self-sustaining and independently operated under South Sudanese leadership. This agreement brings us one step closer to that reality.

1.25 Million People Waiting for an X-Ray!

Chest-X-Ray-Image.jpg

Our year end thrust is to be able to send a brand new portable X-ray machine to South Sudan, to be installed at MCH.  Spectrum Health donated the CR, the part that turns the X-rays into digital images, as well as half the cost of the new x-ray machine.

Now we need your help to get this machine to South Sudan.

The new x-ray machine waiting to be shipped to South Sudan.
The new x-ray machine waiting to be shipped to South Sudan.

When this equipment is installed at MCH, it will be the only x-ray for 1.25 million Sudanese living in our service area in South Sudan!!  It will help save lives by giving our doctor the information he needs to properly diagnose patients. It will also help MCH generate additional income towards becoming self-sustaining since people who can afford to pay for their treatment will pay a fee for the x-ray service. We’ve already seen this proven by the revenue generated from our ultra-sound machine.

We have a former Sudanese "Lost Boy" who trained to be an x-ray technician here in the States, and he is willing to return to South Sudan and work at MCH. He wants to give back to his own people as the nation learns to be independent and free.

In order for PCC to accomplish this year end goal, we need to secure $44,000 to cover the remaining balance of the machine, transportation to South Sudan, the critical spare parts to have on hand, and the costs associated with the first year of implementing the machine.

We have been so blessed in America to have access to the latest in medical technology while many in South Sudan do not even have access to basic diagnostic equipment like x-ray.  Please consider what you can do to help PCC bring this needed equipment to Memorial Christian Hospital as we continue to bring hope and healing to South Sudan.

Secure online gifts can be made by clicking the Donate Now! button at the top of this page.

God is the Healer

Jima was brought to the Memorial Christian Hospital (MCH) mobile clinic in Bor by his parents. He was unconscious and the family explained that they had already taken him to the civil hospital where they were told he had no illness. Friends advised they take him to see the skilled staff at MCH.

Dr. Gai examined Jima and ran some tests which showed he was suffering from cerebral malaria, an often fatal condition. Jim was very weak and ill and his family and even the MCH staff were concerned he would not make it. When Jima began to improve, his parents thanked the MCH staff for healing him. Dr. Gai replied, "give thanks to God since He is the healer." Join us, along with Jima and his family, in thanking God for restoring this young man's health.

Responding to the Food Crisis in South Sudan

Partners in Compassionate Care has been serving the health needs of Bor County, South Sudan for 10 years, but today we face a new threat—famine.

101_1200
101_1200
3.5 million South Sudanese, or one in three people, face an acute lack of food, according to the United Nations. A widespread famine is looming after violence disrupted farming and food prices soar.

PCC’s board member, Dan Janzen, is on his way to South Sudan once he completes a Farmer to Farmer program in Kitale, Kenya. He will also be visiting potential partner organizations in Uganda and the southern portion of South Sudan. These organizations could be strategic in assisting with agricultural development in Bor County since they are nearby and further along the development path.

101_1255
101_1255

“On the way to western Kenya we passed several huge military trucks which I am told were headed to South Sudan. This war does need to end soon …so that people can return home to farm. Hundreds of thousands of people are cooped up in Displaced Person Camps for security reasons and have already missed their prime chance of planting crops. Many have no seeds or implements with which to farm since many villages were burned and others were looted.”

From mid-September through mid-October, Janzen will be in South Sudan and along with PCC’s farm manager, Michael Maker, will be teaching classes on drip irrigation to help people get through the dry season and produce some food. “We will be teaching a modification of the Chappin drip bucket system so that household water can be used to keep some crops producing. We have 3 miles of drip systems to distribute [donated by Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizer, a US company based in Michigan] and seed to distribute with the drip tape.”

Janzen plans to conduct a training program in Bor and possibly one in Werkok if there are enough residents. Participants in the training will complete a practicum where they learn how to install the drip systems and also gain some experience in intensive soil preparation and the bio-intensive planting method which will be used to ensure they can stretch the water as far as possible. Janzen says they will also provide partial shade to the plants to take off some of the stress from the scorching 120 degree temperatures that are common during the dry season.

101_1511
101_1511

What Freedom Means to Me

A-south-Sudanese-woman-wa-007.jpg

by Deng Jongkuch

Many people did not believe they would live to see the day of independence for South Sudan. It was a joyful day for those who were born before the first civil war and equally to younger generations born in the refugee and displaced people camps. Independence was a hope that many South Sudanese wished to see, but it came at a cost of more than 2 million people’s lives since the beginning of the second civil war.

The people of the Republic of South Sudan will be celebrating the third anniversary of their independence from the Republic of Sudan on July 9, 2014. The people of South Sudan have experienced prolonged civil wars since 1955 before Sudan was independent from British colonial powers in 1956. The first civil war started in 1955 and ended with the 1972 peace agreement. This agreement was abrogated by the Khartoum regime and forced Islam on the People of Southern Sudan. This led to the 1983 civil war that lasted for 22 years. The international community and regional leaders helped negotiated a 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement that allowed the South to decide through referendum if they wanted to remain part of Sudan or have a separate country. On July 9th, 2011, the people of South Sudan voted to have a country of their own. The Republic of South Sudan was born after more than 45 years of bitter struggle against the Arab and Islamic dominated Sudan.

More than 4 million Southern Sudanese were displaced from their homes during conflict. Millions seek refuge in neighboring countries and some resettled in the USA, Canada, and Australia. Many South Sudanese who sought safety in refugee camps would not believe that one day they would have a nation of their own. These people experienced so many humiliations in the hands of the host countries. They did not have a freedom to choose what to eat, wear, drink, or sleep. The host countries denied them freedom of movement and confined them in refugee camps for so long. Millions of people were separated from their families for many years and now they are united again.

There is nothing more important than having freedom in your own land. South Sudan independence from Sudan has brought freedom of religion, freedom of movement, freedom to farm and grow food. These are basic human freedoms that are celebrated today by South Sudanese.

The government of South Sudan has been disabled by many issues to deliver basic services to the people of South Sudan. The current conflict shocked many South Sudanese because nobody was aware that South Sudanese would be fighting themselves after long civil wars. Despite the current conflict, all South Sudanese are celebrating because they know nobody will take away the Republic of South Sudan.

Memorial Christian Hospital Update

IMG_0511-e1404828711775.jpg

The past 6 months have been very difficult for PCC and our Staff at Memorial Christian Hospital in Werkok.  On December 30, we had to evacuate our Staff and close the MCH due to the 15,000 Rebels in the White Army advancing toward Werkok and Bor.  We sent out many emails asking prayer for a hedge of protection and a legion of angels around MCH and God answered your prayers!!  I believe that these rebels saw angels surrounding MCH as nothing was looted or destroyed as many of the other homes and properties were destroyed in Bor and surrounding communities.  Even though our Staff and PCC have endured struggles these past 6 month, PCC has seen the faithfulness of God in the following ways:

  • He has enabled us to open a clinic in the Capital City of Bor at the Mission Garden of Christ (MGC).
  • We opened a 2 room Clinic in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camp across the Nile River where 100,000 Sudanese have fled the fighting.
  • We have been treating an average of 130 persons per day in both clinics which has saved many Sudanese lives.
  • The used vehicle that we purchased in 2006 is not repairable, but a donor has contributed $15,000 for another vehicle.
  • The Minister of Health for the Jonglei State, Dr. Angok Kuol Tiir, visited our MCH Staff recently and he told them that the MCH is rated by the Sudanese Public as the number one Hospital in the entire Jonglei State.
  • Due to the increase patient load, PCC is going to hire 2 new Nurses, 2 new Pharmacy Technicians, and a new Lab Technician.  We also are hiring a Sudanese to be in charge of logistics for MCH.  This will enable our Administrator to stay on the MCH Compound to do his job
  • We are planning to reopen MCH in July as there are many patients seen in the clinics who are needing surgery.  We also feel that Sudanese who fled communities to the IDP Camp will feel that security has returned when MCH is reopened.

When PCC was founded in 2004, our goal was to someday turn MCH over to Sudanese leadership.  The PCC Board felt that Rev. Dr. Stephen Mathiang is the Sudanese Leader who is capable of providing the oversight and leadership for MCH.  We have worked with him from our beginning days in 2003.  Pastor Stephen built the Mission Garden of Christ Leadership Training Center in Bor that is just 11 miles from MCH.  When I was with the Staff in Bor in April, I discussed PCC's desire to have MCH be under a Sudanese Non Governmental Organization (NGO).  After much discussion and deliberation, the MCH Staff unanimously agreed with this plan.  PCC will continue to be involved with MCH but will do so as a Supporting Agency.  Pastor Stephen and his NGO Board will be involved with the day to day Administration of MCH.  It has been very difficult for PCC to Administer MCH from a half world away!!  PCC is finishing the first Draft of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and will send that Document next week to Pastor Stephen for his comments and suggestions.  This is the Document that will state how our 2 Organizations will work together as MCH moves forward under Pastor Stephen's Leadership.

Thank you for your prayers and support.  We were not able to begin construction of the Growth Center and a house for our Doctor and Administrator this year.  Please continue to pray for complete security to return to South Sudan so that these important additions can be provided for MCH.

Blessings,

David Bowman

Sudanese Gather for 2 Days of Prayer in South Sudan

zion-church-e1404327672512.jpg
Last Saturday and Sunday a meeting was called for all Sudanese to come to historic Zion Church.  This is the Church that was built in the early 1990's where the Sudanese came to burn their idols and decided to worship God. This site is just 1 mile from MCH.

Last Saturday and Sunday, 2 big days of prayer were held at Zion Church.  Many Sudanese came from Bor, Juba, refugee and Internally Displaced People (IDP) Camps to pray at Zion Church.  Former Bishop Nathaniel Garang, local leaders and Government Officials from Bor and Juba were also present.  This meeting was even broadcast on South Sudan TV in Juba.

The Government and County authorities told the Sudanese that they are thinking of closing shops and other things at the IDP Camp so that Sudanese will go back to their rural villages.  Deng Alier, who sent me this information, said as he passed MCH on his way to this meeting at Zion Church, it was so sad for him to see MCH sitting idle without humans.  PCC has talked with the Staff about re-opening MCH as soon as Michael returns from Juba with the used vehicle to replace our old one that broke down.

This past Monday, a record of 150 Sudanese were seen at the Clinic that MCH is running at Pastor Stephen's Mission Garden of Christ.  MCH is also running a Clinic in the IDP Camp across the Nile River from Bor.

The Minister of Health for the Jonglei State, recently told the MCH Staff that Sudanese have said that the Memorial Christian Hospital is the best Hospital in the entire Jonglei State.  Please pray and ask God to provide added strength to our Staff as they treat and minister to the physical and spiritual needs of Sudanese who come daily to these 2 clinics.  Please pray that God will continue to supply PCC with the funds needed to continue bringing Hope and Healing to Sudanese as the Memorial Christian Hospital will soon be reopened.  Many Sudanese have been seen will be needing surgery which we cannot do at the clinics (another reason we need to reopen the hospital).  Pray that lasting peace will soon return to South Sudan.

PCC Hospital Opens in Bor Town and Awerial IDP Camp

IMG_0165-001.jpg
In response to the lack of security and vacated population around the Memorial Christian Hospital (MCH) in Werkok, the MCH staff have postponed reopening the hospital in Werkok and instead opened temporary clinics in Bor Town at Mission Garden of Christ (MGC) and at the Internally Displaced Person Camp at Awerial.   The Bor town clinic opened in April and the IDP camp clinic in May. MCH is not doing surgeries at this time, but is being kept very busy with the urgent healthcare needs of the community.  The hospital in Werkok will remain closed until the security is improved in Werkok and surrounding villages.

Security in Bor Town has improved and many people are returning to their homes from the IDP camps and the other places to which they fled. Schools and businesses are now opening in Bor Town.  Due to this differential in security it is obvious that for the moment Bor is the best place for the staff to serve the health needs of the people.  Please pray with us that this "fragile" stability in Bor Town continues and stability also returns to the whole area so that all the people may return to their homes.  The team has also rented a building for a temporary clinic in the Displaced Persons Camp across the river and serves the needs of the 100,000 displaced people who have relocated to that area.

The challenge we are facing now is that everything is in short supply at this time. Food, medicine, transportation, are all very hard to come by and very expensive. The only thing there is plenty of is hurting people. The PCC community has responded generously to help us purchase medicine and supplies, and the need continues more now than ever. Malnourishment and disease are rampant in the area and the World Health Organization says that the pregnant women and new born babies are being most adversely affected in the Bor region.

An Answer to Prayer

IMG_0384.jpg

The PCC board, MCH employees, and the South Sudanese extend special thanks and much appreciation for keeping the hospital in your prayers during this crisis in South Sudan. Your prayers have been answered in so many ways. Jesus said, if we have faith in Him, we can move mountains. God answered your prayers by protecting the hospital when rebels were using Werkok as a base camp to invade Bor. The village of Werkok was burned to the ground but Memorial Christian Hospitals is still standing and the rebels never even ventured into the hospital. MCH was preserved intact and all of the staff reached safety and now are serving the traumatized people of Bor County. This is a direct answer to your prayers for the hospital.

Please continue praying for peace in South Sudan and around the world. The South Sudan government and the rebels have been negotiating their differences in Ethiopia. Pray that the Lord opens their hearts and they find the means to settle their differences and find resolutions that can bring an end to the suffering of their people in South Sudan.