Sunday, April 17, 2011

"Camping Out" on the School Grounds

"Camping out" connotes happy summer vacations to many American youth. It carries a very different meaning in most parts of Africa.
Several months ago, Mercy Beyond Borders displayed this photo of Sr. Philippa Murphy, Principal of the only high school in Mapuordit.  She has been working hard to increase the number of girls at her school.  What she certainly did NOT have in mind was a sudden influx of women and children last month coming as IDPs (internally displaced persons) seeking refuge on her campus from a fierce upsurge in fighting between the Jur and Dinka tribes in the area that left at least 38 dead, many villages razed, and thousands of villagers fleeing for safe haven.  Now Philippa must cope with trying to begin school in order to provide some sense of normalcy for the students while hundreds of uprooted families are camping out on her grounds, lacking proper shelter, sufficient food, and not knowing what lies ahead for them.  Local authorities have been slow to bring emergency help.

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