Tabitha Muthui, AID’s fundraising and Communications Manager in South Sudan reports on her recent monitoring and evaluation trip.
When I landed at Juba International Airport, all felt normal with the usual heat burning my face at first sight out of the plane. Just before I headed out of arrivals, one of the immigration staff asked if I could give him one hundred dollars, for me that’s too much to give for nothing, but he kept on pushing until I parted with some Kenya Shillings. All he wanted is foreign money because South Sudanese pounds would not help him much. When government staff are openly asking for money from new arrivals there is clearly problems with the civil service in Juba. Civil servants have not received salaries for months.
The first night went fine with only two gunshots to be heard which is pretty normal in Juba. Crime has become more common in Juba because soldiers and workers have not been receiving their pay. There is a lot of poverty.
Challenges for Staff
Walking into our office the next morning I noticed our staff are a bit worn out and their faces show a lot of stress. Remijo, project coordinator said, “It’s been difficult here, we all live in fear after the July fighting, we hardly get a good night sleep.”
Speaking with various people as the day went on it was clear that the fighting is not yet over. Rev. Martin, director of Manna Microfinance*, told me, “the silence of guns does not mean there is peace.” The Equatorial area has recorded continued unrest over the last few weeks. With the opposition forces regrouping in the DRC and government forces in Sudan, further fighting is foreseeable. It seems to be a window of silence and not actual peace.
It seems to be a window of silence and not actual peace. Tabitha Muthui
The streets of Juba are now full of women and children searching for food and water. At 5.30pm soldiers start to ask people to return home. Clearly it’s still a country that is split.
In view of all that is going on it is amazing that Manna Microfinance (MM) is working very well and the women involved are still keen. I am very impressed at the progress that is being made and how it grows.
“[During the fighting in July] the women ran to different places but we have been able to reach them and we are serving them,” reports Nancy, an MM field worker who has started 5 new MM groups since the fighting broke out in Juba around Independence Day earlier this year.
I am very impressed at the progress that is being made and how it grows. Tabitha Muthui
The commitment of MM staff, motivated by the suffering around them, plays a part in enabling the project to continue through hard times.
“I felt sad in my heart that my daughter will grow up in a war torn country like I did, and she will never get to enjoy good shelter, quality education and healthcare.” Nancy.
We thank God for Tabitha and all of the staff at Manna Microfinance. Please join with us in praying for them.
Please pray :
- For peace and a good, stable government.
- For AID’s staff to know God’s presence and peace when they are feeling stressed and under pressure.
- For safety, continuation and fruitfulness of projects.
*Manna Microfinance works by recruiting women through local churches into self-help groups. The groups meet weekly to receive business training from MM staff, make savings or repay loans. Once a woman has been part of a group for 8 weeks and has made some savings, she is eligible to receive a loan, which she uses to develop a business