This weekend I went to Riwoto to spend with my wonderful friend Fr. John Marren. Initially there was some doubt over whether the weekend would happen or not. Both Fr. Tim and I had been ill on the previous week and while it seemed that I had strengthened, Tim seemed to be a few days behind me in terms of the illness and was still fighting a fever on Thursday.
Tim has somehow survived the last 30 years in South Sudan without me fussing and stressing over him so I decided that since I was strong enough to travel and it would be my last opportunity to go, the trip had to happen. Frankly, I think Tim was happy to see the back of me and to be left alone to be poorly in peace!!
The arrangements were made and Mowngi our driver was to deliver me safely to Kapoeta a few hours drive away where I would meet Fr. John and we would drive together to Riwoto, about an hour from Kapoeta. We left just after lunch, I had rearranged my classes to free up my afternoon. The drive up was fine. Aware that there had been some “trouble on the road” over the last few weeks I had taken the sensible precautions of leaving all but a little cash behind – I took enough that should we be stopped thieves might be satisfied enough by the cash I could offer possibly distracting them from my iPad and camera stored in my backpack.
Thankfully, the trip up was safe and there were no problems on the road. John and I met at the Junction and shared a sode before carrying on to Riwoto. Of course there was shopping to be done and items to be collected. The pickup was full on our way back with provisions and workers hitching a ride back from Kapoeta.
When we arrived at the compound in Riwoto, Sr. Margo Delaney had a lovely supper ready for us. It had been a long journey and we were ready to eat.
Such a lady; gentle, kind, educated, intelligent and marvellous company. She takes a keen interest in other people and has such a loving spirit. She has been a missionary for many years and has spent a great deal of time in South Sudan as well as Samoa. The love she has for the children is apparent and their love for her is certain too. On Sunday as we walked to mass, she knew the names of all the children and all greeted her with real affection.
It was the first weekend where I didn’t have classes and seemed like a little holiday. We breakfasted on paw paw and drank barrel loads of tea. You’ve never met two people that can get through quite as much tea as John and I, the refrain “cup of tea dear?” rings in my ears! On Saturday night, we sat on the verandah watching a lightening storm in the distance. What a show!
We three had a lovely weekend together and I was sorry to leave on Sunday afternoon. John was to stay in Narus on Sunday night before continuing to Lodwar in Northern Kenya with Fr. Tim and Fr. John Joe on Monday morning. We were joined by some friends from Riwoto who had business in Lodwar or Lokichoggio and were taking advantage of the car going in that direction. Uneventful as the drive was, I realised when I got home that I had missed the subtleties of what was going on around me.
That terrible time when Fr. Tim starts a sentence with “I don’t want to alarm you but…” had now turned into “I didn’t want to alarm you but…”
Apparently, on Mowngi’s return journey to Narus on Friday evening there had been “some trouble” on the road. Thankfully Mowngi handled the situation well, watching the thieves loot two trucks ahead of him and waiting for a safe time to continue. He returned safely. It was agreed that I shouldn’t be told so as not to worry me but I can’t decide whether I should be cross with Tim and John or not. I hadn’t even noticed when John discretely took his watch off as we left Riwoto!
Cup of tea dear??!!