Marathon Day in the Rhino Refugee Camp

 

Pastor SundayPastor Sunday and Mark Fisher at Wanyanga Church, Rhino Camp

 We had two days planned for training on the drip irrigation system and Luopads in the Rhino camp.  Today began with a thirty mile ride that took two and half hours to get to our destination.  This ride from Arua  to the camp is all dirt road with serious pot holes and several large mud swells.  We made it to the camp around noon.

 Training

Jon did a great job of doing the classroom training with the no till farming methods and the assembly of the drip irrigation kit.  During our late lunch break, several of the men from the class completed the installation of the irrigation system in the raised beds they prepared before our arrival.

 Drip Kit

Since we were concerned about not making the drive tomorrow if it rained tonight, Jon did a brief explanation of the Luopad kits and we left all of material with the church leaders.  Pastor Sosthen gave explicit instructions that for a family to receive a drip kit they first had to show some ownership by preparing their raised beds in advance.  Overall the training was very productive and there were several men in the group who were very motivated to get started.

 Citadel Boys

The adventure began on our way home.  We left at 4:30pm in anticipation of a several hour ride back to our hotel.   We finally arrived at the Golden Courts hotel at 8:30pm.  Our “short” ride turned into four hours.  Basically we got in the middle of a convey of large trucks that got stuck in a huge mud hole on the road headed out of the camp.  Thankfully we were able to get our van out of the mud, dodged some large trucks, and slowly made our way out of the camp.  Brian Arimpa, our tour operator did a great job in getting us back safely.

Since the road is to bad to return to Rhino tomorrow, we will be traveling with our new friends from Empower-One to the Bidi Bidi camp north of Arua.  They promised a shorter ride!  Bidi Bidi is one of the largest South Sudanese refugee camps in Uganda.  It is not far from the South Sudan border and is one of the entry points for new refugees entering Uganda.

Our experience today in the camp and ride back to the hotel was just another reminder of how difficult life is for the South Sudanese.  It is a humbling experience to be able to serve them this week.

Mark

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