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31 Religious and Laypeople from 19 congregations and 18 different nationalities

 

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Brohters Christian Mbam and Longinus Uche in special mission in Africa

20/03/2019: South Sudan

The Solidarity Project of South Sudan is not a Relief Agency as such, but with the phenomenon of internal displacement of so many people, it was created to provide them with services”, said Br. Christian Ndubisi Mbam, when talking about one of the challenges of the Solidarity project in South Sudan.

“I love every bit of my stay here though at times it becomes a challenge. The most trying difficulty here is the lack of human resources”, added Br. Longinus Uche Dimgba, who is also a member of this initiative.

The Solidarity Project of South Sudan (SSS), currently operates with 5 inter-congregational communities, 31 Religious and Laypeople from 19 congregations and 18 different nationalities.

Brothers Christian and Uche, from the Province of Nigeria, are working in the community of Riimenze. They are both keen for other Marist Brothers to volunteer for this special mission in Africa.  We will continue to publish the articles they write to share their experience.

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Br. Christian Ndubisi Mbam

 “My community, Riimenze community, located in one of the new (Gbudue) states of South Sudan, had varied in membership between six and three. At times, it was threatened even to reduce to two members. However, recently with the exit of two members and injection into it of one, we are left with three members, two Marist Brothers and one Religious of the Notre Dame de Mission, (RNDM) sister.

Our community is engaged in varied ministries. It is the nature of Riimenze community that members are shifted from one ministry to another, depending on the need at a given time. So now we are engaged in Agriculture and school apostolates, I am engaged on both Agriculture and school apostolate in varying degrees. In fact, in Riimenze, we prefer to be known as principally engaged in the Apostolate of Presence. Even when engaged in a particular apostolate, we reach out to others. In the last two years, we have been surrounded by Internally Displace People. We have engaged with them, filling up the gaps left by international agencies providing some assistance to the people. We support a nursery primary school in whichever form we can. We have introduced Vocational training and Remedial classes for young men and women.

Agriculture is the basic apostolate of the community. It is comprised of near fifty hactres of agricultural land donated by the diocese of Tobura-Yambio. This farm is meant to supply the badly needed food to the Solidarity Teachers Training College less than an hour drive away. Being funded by Austrian Development Agency of the Austrian Government through Caritas, Austria it fulfills a second very important role of capacity building of the people of South Sudan by providing training in better agricultural practices, hence with many internal and outreach training programmes.

The school apostolate sees us developing a good nursery school and riving the existing primary school. Recently from example we have just completed the refurbishing the primary school and recruiting qualified teachers, from Solidarity Teachers training School, hoping that it will bring about a turn-around to the bastardized school. The school has witnessed changes in administration, from the mission to government and now back to the parish.

The rate of school dropouts among both boys and girls in South Sudan, and especially among girls is very high, and particularly of a very deplorable state in the rural areas of our state, Gbudue State. Thanks to God, with our presence in Riimenze, a number of these young people are beginning to sense the need of education in their lives. This has prompted us to afford them with the opportunity to return to school by the introduction of Remedial classes. And also, for those who wish otherwise, in skills acquisition.

Solidarity is not a Relief Agency but with the phenomenon of internal displacement of people, it has responded by providing for the people. However, the needs of the IDP, is so enormous to meet that we have concentrated in caring for the aged and vulnerable of the camp, providing them with food, clothing and housing.

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Br. Longinus Uche Dimgba

“I started work in Solidarity Teacher Training College, Yambio in 2015. The school opens each day with an assembly and prayer. The prayer accommodates every student’s taste.  Each semester also opens and closes with Eucharistic celebrations. It is a place nice to live and study and it is free of charge.

We used to graduate two sets of students each year but the security of the road deteriorated and we started graduating three sets in a year: April, August and December. Each year is a bit hectic.

 The classes are arranged in levels and we have four Levels.  Every semester qualifies a student to the next level on a good grade pass of the subjects.  We have one semester of bridging class for those who speak Arabic. It is a nice school.  I wish they put into practice, at home, the spirit of unity inculcated in them.

The teachers we train are very useful to the primary schools all over the country.  Here in Riimenze six of them have resurrected our parish nursery and primary schools and we are very grateful to them.

Now I am in Riimenze, a 30 minutes’ driving from Yambio on a good road but it takes about an hour and a half to be there because of bad road. Life in Riimenze is good. 

Presently we are three in the community, two brothers and one sister. On the 9th of this month will be just my month in the community.  I work in the farm, feel the animals and visit the internal displaced people who are next to our entrance gate.

Generally, the people of South Sudan are good to live with. There are cheerful and accommodating. I thank God and the Marist Brothers for given me this opportunity. I love every bit of my stay here though at times it becomes a challenge.

The highest biting problem here is the lack of human resources.  There are too many things to be done each day”.

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