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Fr. John Skinnader:
Hi Everyone. Greetings again and belated Happy New Year to you all. We had very good Christmas celebrations here in Rumbek South Sudan and now the new school year has begun in February. The South Sudanese are melting with the heat wave that we are experiencing here at present 41 degrees and above most days. Yesterday I gave a lift to a woman who waved me down for a lift. I was coming out of Loreto School. The woman introduced herself as Deborah and was working with Plan International as a midwife. I asked her if she was married. She said yes and had 3 children. I said you look very young to have 3 children. She said she was forced by her family to marry at 15 years of age. I asked her -at least is he a good man. She retorted quickly - There is no such thing as a good man !!! Many young girls are forced into early marriage so that the families can get cows as a dowry to then let the girls brother have cows for him to marry. It is a very sad situation and one that we hope that with evangelization and education things can change - especially for young girls here. I normally have to travel to Loreto, 7 km away to get access to the internet but now we are in the process of getting our own internet installed. It is expensive though - costs 3000 euros for the equipment and then 300 euros every month after that. Anyway, I flew to Juba last week to get the equipment. What a flight or fright I had. The plane was overbooked and some passengers were forced to sit on the aisle of the plane , on their hand luggage. None of us had seat belts. The flight was an hour long. I comforted myself with the fact that if the plane went down I would still hope to go up !!!! I hope to include a few photos with this email but I am not sure if I can send them as the internet is very weak here - but I will try. One is of the little girl who had a big growth on her back and we were able to send to Uganda for an operation to remove the growth. Thank God is is recovering well after the operation. Another is of a little girl whom the mother brought to us for Baptism but she has a cleft pallet condition. We hope to be able to send her also for an operation. Anyway, don't feel too sorry for me here as I am enjoying my 41 degrees heat. Blessings John Hi Everyone, Greetings once again from Rumbek, South Sudan where we are enjoying beautiful heat of more than 35 degrees most days !!! Certainly better than the winter chills !! At this time here we are preparing for our annual Youth Congress where young people from around the Diocese come together for 3 days to celebrate together and prepare for Christmas. Some parishes are not able to send youth as there is still too much insecurity on the roads for them to travel but for those who do come - it is an opportunity to prepare spiritually for Christmas and also have dramas, sports and cultural events to entertain them. This year 1000 young people will gather here in Rumbek for the youth congress. Today I will drink tea: This was the response from Abraham who is confined to a wheelchair (see photo attached) – when he was told that the parish were distributing food last week. Ordinary food items have become so expensive that people cannot even afford to have sugar in their tea – so when Abraham heard that we would be distributing sugar as well as maize flour, beans and cooking oil – to the most vulnerable people in the community - he knew that he would have sugar to make tea. Here, people find it very difficult to take tea without sugar !! They would struggle on Lough Derg !!! In all – 180 vulnerable people got food items. The Killing of Fr. Victor: We were all very saddened and shocked by the death of one of our Jesuit colleagues working here in Rumbek. He was a Kenyan Jesuit who had studied in Ireland and done his PHD in London on Education. He was the Principal of our Teacher Training College in the Diocese. An armed gang had come to rob his place and he challenged them and they shot him dead. He was a wonderfull human being with a big hearty laugh. He is sadly missed by all of us. RIP. New Solar Water Pump: On a happier note we were very happy to get our solar water system up and running and to have running water in the house. As well as having water in the house, we have water now to make a vegetables garden and to supply water to the school children who are adjacent to our new parish house. It is indeed a happy Christmas present for all of us here. All of the above good things would not have been possible without the generous support that we continue to receive from you all for the work of evangelisation in South Sudan. It is indeed a great blessing to have such great support and I thank you most sincerely for it. May the Good Lord enrich your lives with his strength and Peace at this festive time of Christmas. Have a blessed Christmas. John Hi Everyone, Greetings once again from South Sudan. I am happy to say that I have arrived safely back to Rumbek and had a great reception from the people here. I am the only European in Rumbek at present, so my presence here is a sign that the outside world and the Universal Church has not forgotten the people of South Sudan. That is one of the reasons that they are so happy to see me back among them. As one of the local South Sudanese bishops said recently - "When the missionaries leave - the people loose heart". So, I am very happy and content to be back in the parish here. We have moved into our new renovated house which is without water or light yet but over the next few weeks we will get it sorted out. The house we have renovated was built by the British in 1948 at a time that they built a secondary school in Rumbek . It was built as a chaplaincy house for the priests to look after the students in the secondary school but no priests have ever lived in it up to now. It was used by government officials for offices etc. Now, the government here have handed it back to the Catholic Church and myself and Fr. Nolasco from Tanzania are here to open a new parish also. Interestingly enough, the first teachers in the secondary school in the 1950's were nearly all from Northern Ireland -so the link continues somewhat. Our cook is from Uganda. She was telling us that when she gave birth to her first child, her and her husband were very happy. When she gave birth again, she had twins and at the 3rd birth - she had triplets !! The husband ran away as he thought she was a witch !!! That was 14 years ago and has not come back since. Such is life on the African continent. As I said, I am very happy to be back in South Sudan and will post more updates later. Blessings. John
Little Bakhita who was brought for Baptism and has a cleft pallet
Martha whom we sent to Uganda to have the growth removed from her spine. She is now recovering in hospital
Martha ready to fly for her operation
Fr. John 2 HERE Fr. John 3 HERE Fr. John 4 HERE
All Content Copyright emyvale.net
Fr. John Skinnader:
Hi Everyone. Greetings again and belated Happy New Year to you all. We had very good Christmas celebrations here in Rumbek South Sudan and now the new school year has begun in February. The South Sudanese are melting with the heat wave that we are experiencing here at present 41 degrees and above most days. Yesterday I gave a lift to a woman who waved me down for a lift. I was coming out of Loreto School. The woman introduced herself as Deborah and was working with Plan International as a midwife. I asked her if she was married. She said yes and had 3 children. I said you look very young to have 3 children. She said she was forced by her family to marry at 15 years of age. I asked her -at least is he a good man. She retorted quickly - There is no such thing as a good man !!! Many young girls are forced into early marriage so that the families can get cows as a dowry to then let the girls brother have cows for him to marry. It is a very sad situation and one that we hope that with evangelization and education things can change -especially for young girls here. I normally have to travel to Loreto, 7 km away to get access to the internet but now we are in the process of getting our own internet installed. It is expensive though - costs 3000 euros for the equipment and then 300 euros every month after that. Anyway, I flew to Juba last week to get the equipment. What a flight or fright I had. The plane was overbooked and some passengers were forced to sit on the aisle of the plane , on their hand luggage. None of us had seat belts. The flight was an hour long. I comforted myself with the fact that if the plane went down I would still hope to go up !!!! I hope to include a few photos with this email but I am not sure if I can send them as the internet is very weak here - but I will try. One is of the little girl who had a big growth on her back and we were able to send to Uganda for an operation to remove the growth. Thank God is is recovering well after the operation. Another is of a little girl whom the mother brought to us for Baptism but she has a cleft pallet condition. We hope to be able to send her also for an operation. Anyway, don't feel too sorry for me here as I am enjoying my 41 degrees heat. Blessings John Hi Everyone, Greetings once again from Rumbek, South Sudan where we are enjoying beautiful heat of more than 35 degrees most days !!! Certainly better than the winter chills !! At this time here we are preparing for our annual Youth Congress where young people from around the Diocese come together for 3 days to celebrate together and prepare for Christmas. Some parishes are not able to send youth as there is still too much insecurity on the roads for them to travel but for those who do come - it is an opportunity to prepare spiritually for Christmas and also have dramas, sports and cultural events to entertain them. This year 1000 young people will gather here in Rumbek for the youth congress. Today I will drink tea: This was the response from Abraham – who is confined to a wheelchair (see photo attached) – when he was told that the parish were distributing food last week. Ordinary food items have become so expensive that people cannot even afford to have sugar in their tea – so when Abraham heard that we would be distributing sugar as well as maize flour, beans and cooking oil – to the most vulnerable people in the community - he knew that he would have sugar to make tea. Here, people find it very difficult to take tea without sugar !! They would struggle on Lough Derg !!! In all – 180 vulnerable people got food items. The Killing of Fr. Victor: We were all very saddened and shocked by the death of one of our Jesuit colleagues working here in Rumbek. He was a Kenyan Jesuit who had studied in Ireland and done his PHD in London on Education. He was the Principal of our Teacher Training College in the Diocese. An armed gang had come to rob his place and he challenged them and they shot him dead. He was a wonderfull human being with a big hearty laugh. He is sadly missed by all of us. RIP. New Solar Water Pump: On a happier note we were very happy to get our solar water system up and running and to have running water in the house. As well as having water in the house, we have water now to make a vegetables garden and to supply water to the school children who are adjacent to our new parish house. It is indeed a happy Christmas present for all of us here. All of the above good things would not have been possible without the generous support that we continue to receive from you all for the work of evangelisation in South Sudan. It is indeed a great blessing to have such great support and I thank you most sincerely for it. May the Good Lord enrich your lives with his strength and Peace at this festive time of Christmas. Have a blessed Christmas. John Hi Everyone, Greetings once again from South Sudan. I am happy to say that I have arrived safely back to Rumbek and had a great reception from the people here. I am the only European in Rumbek at present, so my presence here is a sign that the outside world and the Universal Church has not forgotten the people of South Sudan. That is one of the reasons that they are so happy to see me back among them. As one of the local South Sudanese bishops said recently - "When the missionaries leave - the people loose heart". So, I am very happy and content to be back in the parish here. We have moved into our new renovated house which is without water or light yet but over the next few weeks we will get it sorted out. The house we have renovated was built by the British in 1948 at a time that they built a secondary school in Rumbek . It was built as a chaplaincy house for the priests to look after the students in the secondary school but no priests have ever lived in it up to now. It was used by government officials for offices etc. Now, the government here have handed it back to the Catholic Church and myself and Fr. Nolasco from Tanzania are here to open a new parish also. Interestingly enough, the first teachers in the secondary school in the 1950's were nearly all from Northern Ireland -so the link continues somewhat. Our cook is from Uganda. She was telling us that when she gave birth to her first child, her and her husband were very happy. When she gave birth again, she had twins and at the 3rd birth - she had triplets !! The husband ran away as he thought she was a witch !!! That was 14 years ago and has not come back since. Such is life on the African continent. As I said, I am very happy to be back in South Sudan and will post more updates later. Blessings. John
Little Bakhita who was brought for Baptism and has a cleft pallet
Martha whom we sent to Uganda to have the growth removed from her spine. She is now recovering in hospital
Martha ready to fly for her operation