FROM MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA TO THE LOCARUK VILLAGE
“This project is a testament to what can be done when communities join together with a common goal of helping those who need it most. If we can achieve this now, just think of what more we can do later. This is just the start!”
A Lopit Community Development Project
Hidong na Holong
Locaruk receives container – photos
The road from Torit to Locaruk village was very treachourous.
This road would be impassable in the wet season.
And very hilly as well. The paintings on the outside have survived the journey well.
The truck arriving in the village.
03 arrival (1024×768)
Starting to unpack – the St. Gerard’s cross was untied and unloaded first.
04 unpacking (1024×768)
The truck was parked close to this building that had been constructed, and everything was unloaded directly into that building. It was used as the sorting and distribution room.
The watertank was first emptied of all the clothing and shoes that were packed inside, and then taken out of the truck.
Once the container was emptied, it could be taken off the truck – this was done by tying the container to a tree, disconnecting it from the truck bed, and then having the truck drive off, leaving the container to fall to the ground. A shady spot under a tree (that was previously used as an open-air ‘classroom’) has been chosen for the container.
07 off the truck (1024×768)
The villagers spent a week sorting all the items by type, and separating the clothing into men’s, women’s and children’s clothes
Distribution was organised and ran smoothly – people came in, small groups at a time, to collect an allocated number of items, beginning with the elderly men and women and working through other age groups of adults and families with children. Everyone got something.
Some celebratory dancing around the container. There was dancing every evening.
10 celebratory dancing (1024×768)
Some youths playing soccer. Behind them, you can see where the houses are being rebuilt. The location of the village before the fire was on the higher slopes of the mountain, but they are rebuilding here in this location, with houses on the low slopes surrounding a flat valley area.
12 houses (1024×768)
It has arrived!
The container has arrived in Locaruk! We received word on January 18th that it had safely and successfully reached its final destination.
We will have more news and photos of the event for you once Arkangelo returns to Australia – communications are limited in the Lopit area.
Going to meet the container
At the end of November, Arkangelo from the Lopit community left Melbourne for Mombasa, Kenya, to meet the container on its arrival at port. Here he is saying goodbye to James. Arkangelo is facilitating the safe transport of the container from Mombasa, Kenya, to Locaruk, South Sudan. We are hoping it will arrive at the village in time for Christmas!
Off to sea
On October 30th, the container was loaded onto the ship Safmarine Mulanje to be transported by sea to port in Mombasa, Kenya. From there, it will be trucked overland to reach Locruk in South Sudan.
Photos below are from the MarineTraffic website, and show the ship on its way from Melbourne on Oct 30th, heading past Port Philip Heads. You can’t see our container in these pictures, but it’s there – safely stacked somewhere in the middle!
(copyright Graham Flett)
Onto the truck!
Finally, the time came for the container to depart St. Gerard’s, and begin its journey to Locaruk. On Monday 22nd Oct, the container was loaded onto a truck, farewelled by the school community, and taken to port. After many weeks of hard work and wonderful generosity, it was amazing to be at this stage and see how far we had come together. This project is a testament to what can be done when communities join together with a common goal of helping those who need it most. If we can achieve this now, just think of what more we can do later. This is just the start!
St. Gerard’s Day
On the weekend of Sat 20th and Sun 21st October, the container was a hive of activity. Sat 20th was the St. Gerard’s Day celebrations at the school, and also an opportunity for members of the project team and the school and parish community to gather, reflect, and mark the imminent departure of the container with a blessing and best wishes from all. The Lopit cross was loaded into the container, secured, and protected with a lovely handmade quilt presented by the school, and the doors were closed to the sounds of cheers, prayers, and songs by the children’s choir. Many enthusiastic members of the community also pitched in to add their own touches to the painting of the outside of the container, with rapidly evolving designs and colours. The artistry continued on Sun 21st, getting the container all ready to depart on the Monday.
“GIVE ME FIVE” (St. Gerard’s motto): Be Respectful, Be Cooperative, Be Your Best, Be Positive, Be Spirit Filled
Some pictures from the final days of packing – as you can see, in front of the water tank we are now packing in bikes, school tables and chairs, more rice, filing cabinets, more clothing and shoes, and a Rota-Pota (this is inside the wheelie bin, which has been modified so it can be used as a mini water tank). The Rota-Pota is a hand-pumped water filtration system, able to output 40+ litres per hour of clean water, removing suspended solids, bacteria and parasites. The Rota-Pota was created by Howard Mendel and we are very grateful to Howard for offering one of these to be included in the shipment. The Rota-Pota is ideal for communities which have difficulties accessing clean and safe water, and particularly those where electric pumps are not an option. We look forward to seeing how this goes in Locaruk.
The container is currently travelling by sea to Africa, but your support is still needed in order to see it safely arrive.
There are many expenses still to meet, and many things still to be done. Please consider making a donation towards the project. Please consider purchasing some delicious Christmas goods. Please share this information with your friends and family.
Your support is much appreciated!
If you live in the Melbourne area, the ‘Ngeita’ women’s group would love to take your order for beautifully packaged Christmas cakes, puddings, shortbreads, melting moments, fruit mince pies, conserves and mixed Christmas slices and biscuits. We also cater for that special Christmas function – let us know what you need, and we can prepare it for you. We will make goods to order and to size to suit your needs.
Contact Jane and Victor on 0421 965 792
We value your support and also any helping hands that would like to join us.
Every Thursday, we gather to cook, sew, and garden at St. Gerard’s school and parish, and we welcome you to join us.
How can you help?
Join us to share your skills in cooking, gardening sewing and craft, as we set up the cottage industry to support the ongoing commitment we have all made to rebuild this village, its school, its church and its means to sustain itself. This will take time, but together with God’s grace we can do it.