Thursday 21 June 2012: Mondikol
Today, my mission was to visit completed wells and take photos of them. Along with each well, the community is involved in building it, maintaining it, contributing money each month to repair it when parts are needed. They are involved in the construction process because it is their well. It belongs to all of them. Therefore, it becomes a personal offense if someone comes in and misuses the well. It is disrespectful to the entire community.
The children receive water sanitation education and lessons in personal hygiene so they know how to keep the source of their water clean and free from contamination. The children (and the women), for the most part are the ones who fetch the water for their community.
We started the morning off in Comboni with the primary school children surrounding their well holding each other's hands. As we walked closer to the school we found a boy, Andrew, lying on the rocks on the ground because he had just had a grand mal seizure. Norma rushed over to hold him and have him rest on her shoulder. The people here are afraid to touch people who have seizures because they think they will "catch" the seizures and become afflicted themselves. As he slowly came back to consciousness, we told him and his teachers that we would take him to his home and find out what medication, if any, he was taking for the seizures. He was very shaky, very out of it. His eyes rolled back into his head several times and his breathing was irregular. But, as Jessica (a NP) said.. "I checked his pulses and his breathing and they were both there." We eventually dropped him off at his home and Norma got one of his pills that turned out to just be folic acid. We told him that we would come back this evening and get him on some seizure medication.
This particular well was donated by my good friends at DigDeep and dedicated to the memory of Bill Straus. John 4:14 is the verse that was chosen to represent this well. (George McGraw, this one's for you!)
Opoka drove Jessica and me all around the different drilling sites to check out the bore holes in various stages of completion.
We stopped at a South Sudanese prison to get some shots of the crew working at an active drilling site. While there, I asked the warden of the prison in Kuku (the dialect of the local tribes in Kajo-Keji) if I could take his picture. He agreed readily and got his wife and one of his guards to be in the photo with him. The prisoners also wanted their photo taken. As well as some more of the guards. That was cool. I got some awesome shots of South Sudanese with their guns. Apparently the warden was quite taken by me because he told me that he wanted me to be one of his wives as we were leaving. (First marriage proposal of the day.) I tried to laugh it off, but a guard grabbed me by the arm and said in English, "He is waiting for your answer." I respectfully declined, "My heart is not for him." (OPOKA, HELP ME.) We left without event as I told them I might see them tomorrow. (I might be lying. I do not know. Nor can I control where I go since I am not driving.)
Back at the compound, I realized we had a great internet signal and I could upload photos to Blip! Huzzah! Pilar, Danielle, and Kristen arrived today "fresh" from the US. So we had a great group of people to play HELL with.
As the sun was setting and Norma, Jessica, and I were preparing to go see Andrew and bring him his seizure medication, who should show up at the compound gates but Andrew himself. He was smiling and happy to see us. We took him to the clinic on the compound and inspected his wounds from falling down on the rocks earlier today. His right arm had been bandaged around his elbow and he had scars from falling into a fire when he was a young boy (because of a seizure). His bicep was atrophied and his skin was taut all around his elbow. Norma dressed his wounds. Jessica and I (in a minor, minor role) explained to him how to take his new medicine and how important it was for him to take it every day. He complained that his head was always hurting, so we gave him some Tylenol to take for the pain. He asked for medicine to make him smarter so he would do well in school. When he tries to read, he explained, he gets seizures and his head hurts. That is why he does not know how to read. Jessica said if he takes his medicine the way we told him, he will be able to read without getting a seizure. I got to practice my Kuku language with him which he thought was hilarious. He let me take his photo with Jessica and then with me. Grant came up to tell us that we were starting dinner. Andrew asked him if he was my brother and Norma was my mother. He said we were all brothers and sisters and Norma was all of our mothers. Then he started to negotiate with Grant on how to make me his wife. (Second marriage proposal of the day.) Grant said that he would like 100 cows and 1000 rabbits to start negotiations for me. Thanks, Grant. That means a lot that I should be so expensive. Alas. My heart is not for Andrew either. Sorry, sweet boy. We will hopefully see him at church on Sunday. I hope he sits with us.
I got some many great photos from today that I will upload to flickr and facebook when I have the bandwidth.. So I will post links in the comments section when I get back to London or the US.