Here we go again!!
I haven’t written in the same way I did last time about leaving London, the preparations and the goodbyes.
I can’t say whether it was more difficult leaving this time or the last. The circumstances were so different in every respect.
Firstly South Sudan was a very different place two years ago. It was enjoying its new found independence. There were tribal factions as always but the country was largely peaceful. There was hope for what the future might bring.
Now, in 2015 it seems that the hope has been drained from the land I left in 2013. My family and friends all knew South Sudan to be a dangerous place where the political situation was volatile and uncertain as a result of the war which broke out shortly after I left in December 2013.
Of course I was nervous about my return. My friends and the people I loved seemed to think that my return visit was badly timed and I was being foolish.
In particular my mother and Nana were very worried. I found this very hard. I hate it when people worry about me. I hate to think that I am causing anyone any distress or discomfort. I internalised it all and felt so selfish and heartless. It was my fault that I had upset my mother and Nana.
There is work to be done here and there are people doing it. I learned on my last visit that the smallest kindnesses shown by one person can be life changing to another.
So here I am in Riwoto in Eastern Equatorial State teaching maths to young Toposa children and happily tagging along with Fr. Tims visits to the outposts.
The second major change in circumstance is my personal life! When I left London in 2013 I was single and paddled my own canoe (so to speak). Now I am blessed with a new relationship which is full of love and promise. My leaving came at a time of transition for us and I had sleepless nights worrying if I was making the right decision or not.
Thankfully, my incredible boyfriend knows me well enough to know that my love for South Sudan is part of who I am. And now the confirmed singleton realises how lucky I am to have someone who will support me in my endeavours.
4 thoughts on “Leaving London – 2015 trip to South Sudan”
Helena, a lovely update and, most important, everything is going okay for you. May it continue for your stay and you know our thoughts, prayers and good wishes are with you 24/7.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Clare of Assisi, who gave up everything to follow St. Francis. ————
Like Francis, Clare was born into one of the wealthiest families in Assisi, she the third of five children. She was a strong, dedicated young woman, generous and compassionate toward the poor. Although her family had arranged for her to marry at age 15, Clare refused. At age 18, she heard the charismatic preaching of young Francis and his message of peace and penance. It transformed her life. She made arrangements to meet with him and receive his advice.
In a dramatic series of events, Clare secretly left her home one night, meeting Francis and his followers at the Portiuncola, a small chapel. There she removed her fine cloak and donned the simple habit of the friars. Francis cut off her long blonde hair. For safe keeping, they moved Clare to a nearby Benedictine convent.
Her father and uncles stormed the convent several times, trying forcibly to return her to her former life .Clare moved to the compound at San Damiano, where she lived for 42 years until her death. Taken from Fr. Dan Kroger, O.F.M.
Publisher, Franciscan Media
Helena, thanks for news of the place that was home for me…Well done John
Beannachtaí Dé ort. Ba mhaith liom caint leat nuair a tháinig tú ar ais go Londain.