The hospital built and operated by Brother Rosario, MD, in Mapuordit, South Sudan, boasts a well deserved reputation for excellent care. It is located in a rural area reachable only by rough roads. Despite its isolation, the hospital has an operating room, a nursing school and a diverse, dedicated staff.
Shown here with Bro Rosario are Sr Marilyn Lacey and Shirley Tamoria, MD (a member of Mercy Beyond Borders' Board of Directors), during a 2010 visit. Doctor Tamoria was thoroughly impressed by the professional medical treatments and staff training that Bro Rosario provides and oversees.
If you visit the village of Nacipo, in South Sudan, you will see the women with whom Mercy Beyond Borders partners in promoting basic health. Anna Mijji, MBB's health promoter, works with families like this one. They live in thatch huts that the women build with their own hands. They spend hours every morning securing firewood for cooking and hauling water for daily use. The women are tremendously resilient and intelligent, but most have never been schooled, so they remain unaware of the connections between hand-washing and disease, or the benefits of keeping flies off food. MBB hosts weekly workshops to encourage simple changes that can dramatically improve health. It's working. We are already seeing changes!
If you've grown up in rural S. Sudan, you may have no concept whatsoever of c-o-l-d, as the weather there is equatorially hot year-round (either hot and dusty dry, or hot and rainy wet). The electricity needed to produce refrigeration would be extremely rare. In fact, in the brief workshop that refugees from Sudan have before being resettled out of refugee camps to begin a new life in Europe or America, the teachers sometimes pass a large chunk of ice around the classroom. "This is cold," they say. "You may live in a place that feels like this."
Sr Edvine, Principal of St Bakhita Primary School, spent an overnight in Lake Tahoe while visiting California during March. The area had already recorded 59 feet of winter snow (yes, feet!). Edvine sat bundled inside the house, close to a roaring fireplace. Now she'll be able to describe c-o-l-d to her students in South Sudan!
Thorns! Thorns! THORNS! Growing seemingly everywhere in the scrub brush of S. Sudan, these spikes can be 3-4 inches in length and are the bane of all unwary walkers and of children playing soccer. They easily pierce skin and are more than sharp enough to puncture tires or walking shoes (if you're lucky enough to have shoes).
Mercy Beyond Borders has sent an allegedly puncture-proof soccer ball (at least, that is the claim of the manufacturer) to St Bakhita Primary School in Narus, Sudan. If it survives the thorn bushes on their rough playing field, it will indeed be a miracle. Stay tuned!