This is one of three blogs in a series, sharing highlights of my trip to South Sudan in January 2018, Part 1: Fortune, Part 2: Family, and Part 3: Future. Thank you for sharing this journey with me! ~Jacob
The third group who received me, perhaps the most important, were the children.
On January 13, I was in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan. In the evening, I went with my cousins to a street coffee shop. As we were waiting to order our coffee, a little boy came and asked me very gently, “I shine your shoes?” I asked him how much he wanted us to pay. He said, 25 South Sudanese pounds for each of you. That’s about 25 cents US. I said, “OK.” My cousins and I, nine people in total, took off our shoes.
While he was shining our shoes, I had a chance to ask about his life. “Do you go to school?” I asked. “No,” he said, “my parents have no money for school fees.”
I offered to give him and his sister (pictured behind him) a gift of $50. He looked frightened and said, “Look, if I take this money it will be too dangerous for me. Someone might rob me or beat me to death for the money. Besides, it will soon run out and I will be back in the same place I am now.”
“So how can I help you?” I asked.
“Give us a school,” he said. “Collect all of us kids living in the street, begging for a living, and teach us how to make a living.” My cousins and I all wept when we heard this boys request, but his message was clear to us.
On January 22 I was walking along a road in the town of Bor, Jonglei State–my home state. I saw two boys selling water they had collected from the Nile River. I asked them how long they had been doing this business and if they went to school. They told me they didn’t go to school because they had no parents and nothing to eat. They were not working for money–just for food. When I asked how I can pray for them, they said, “Pray that the owner of this donkey doesn’t fire us. If he does, we will have no food.” I did pray, not just that they would keep their meager job, but that God would provide them and others like them the opportunity to live a full and happy life.
These two experiences reaffirmed in me a belief that building a school in Bor is a critical need for our community’s future. I hope these children’s stories underscore that need to you, as well. Since my return to the United States, we are making progress in our plans to build a school for these children in Bor. See early pictures of the land Africa Sunrise Communities has secured here. But we can use your help! To contribute to the building fund, make a donation here.
Check back often for updates, and if you missed the beginning of this story, start with this blog post: January Trip Part 1: Fortune.
You can also follow these posts on Facebook and on Twitter (@africa_sunrise).