Today I was involved in two separate car accidents in South Sudan. Most of us are bruised and sore, especially on the knees and shins. Also, there’s damage to the vehicle. The only thing is, each of the accidents lasted two and a half hours and we were the only vehicle involved. What we hit was the Juba-Bor road. The rainy season has just ended, and the road can no longer be considered a road. As they say; in America your drive on the right side of the road, in Britain on the left, and in Africa you drive on the good side of the road. This of course doesn’t apply to South Sudan, where there is no good side of the road. Each way to the village we went to was only 30 or 35 miles, but took 2 1/2 hours to travel. Going the 140 miles all the way to Juba currently takes 2 days.
The good thing is that the reason for this transportational fiasco was that we were going to a Baptism at a year old church that meets under an acacia tree in a village along the Nile. It doesn’t get any better than that. Imagine yourself in the time of Christ, in the land of Cush, along the same Nile River where Moses floated in a basket. Now realize that except for the odd T-shirt or other western clothing, and the fact that the well has a hand pump instead of a bucket, NOTHING has changed since that time.
The event was as amazing as I thought it would be. A line of people walked from the church down to the river, singing as they went. It was just like the scene in “Oh Brother Where Art Thou“, only it was all Africans singing in Dinka. The villagers continued to sing the whole time as they stood along the shore, and the music was beautiful. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything in the world. Afterward, the chief greeted us and thanked us for being there, and expressed his appreciation for our participation in their village. I was here a year and a half ago, and I sensed a lot of skepticism at the time that we would actually continue to be involved as we said we would. I think there was some appreciation that we had followed though and continued to build relationships in this village.
In the end, the bruises and soreness were worth it. This is a beautiful day I will always remember.
All pictures can be clicked on for a larger view.