My life in Narus

I realise that I haven’t shared much information about my life as it is in Narus. I live in a compound with two priests; Fr. Tim Galvin and Fr. John Joe Garvey from Millstreet in Co. Cork. We have quickly settled into a routine and after just a week we have our own “inside” jokes which to me is the mark of an easy friendship.

Both are excellent company and our conversations at meal times range from the intellectual to the ridiculous.

We rise each morning at about 6am. Fr. Tim says mass at the church and Fr. John Joe says mass at the small chapel on our compound. I normally attend mass with John Joe in the chapel and we are joined by the Nuns and Brothers who also share the compound but live more or less separately to us.

Once mass is over, we three meet for breakfast prepared by our cook Alina. My father will be delighted to hear that we have porridge every morning. The only positive things I can say about porridge is that each bowl brings me one bowl closer to the last one I’ll ever have to eat! Although, I will admit that it helps greatly with my malaria tablet which seems to be almost impossible to swallow.

We then continue about our daily lives. I spend time with my Standard 8 girls in St. Bakhita Girls Primary School. They are desperate for extra tuition and I am very happy to spend as much time as possible with them. They are candidates for State exams this year and maths is a notoriously weak subject for girls in South Sudan so I am proud that they are willing to work so hard. Some of the girls show great potential.

I meet my two Kiltegan Fathers again for lunch after which we hide away from the heat of the day. It gets incredibly hot here – often exceeding 35 degrees Celsius. We study and prepare for our classes. I return to school for extra tuition and I will soon start my classes in Toposa too.

Sometimes, I will accompany Tim as he inspects the work at the St. Bakhita secondary school or visits with parishioners. I really enjoy our late afternoon strolls, no one knows more about Narus or the people here than Tim. It is also very humbling to see the work that he has done here and what has been achieved.

I have made some new friends too and so sometimes in the late afternoon i will spend time with them. Anna Grace is an economics teacher in the secondary school. She is from the Karamajong tribe in Uganda. Her story is incredible and maybe in time and ith her permission I will be able to share that story.

We gather together again form Evening Prayer at about 7pm before sitting for supper together and watching the 8pm news headlines on Al Jazeera, the only channel we get (which frankly is fine by me!). We read and chat about the days events.

The generator goes off at about 9:30pm which leaves us with the less powerful solar lights. At this point I head for bed having decided early on that the safest place to be in the dark in Africa is in my bed with my mosquito net firmly tucked under my mattress!

Soon I will start to help with preparing the classes for confirmation. But that is the typical framework of my day in Narus.

Sent from my iPad

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