Thursday, May 31, 2012

Almost Stranded High and Dry

If Sr Edvine, Principal of St Bakhita School ever writes a memoir it would read like an adventure novel:
--Murder on the school grounds: yes, an intruder was shot to death attempting to steal the school’s goats;
--Marooned by floods: yes, when the river between the school and the diocesan compound rises during the rainy season, she cannot get home at night and has to sleep at the school; and
--Stranded in the desert:  As you can see in this photo, the vehicle Edvine was using to visit scholarship girls in another town became hopelessly stuck in the shifting sands of a dry wadi (riverbed).  She and the driver spent hours in the punishing heat attempting to free the car. 

What a pioneer!  Despite all the drama in her life, 3 of her students placed in the top 5 among all 8th grade students in the first-ever statewide exams in South Sudan.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Net loss?

Officials at the World Health Org would cringe to see this picture: a mosquito net being used by an enterprising young boy in the dusty outskirts of Narus, South Sudan, for his soccer game. One can only hope that at sundown the net will be reinstated over the child’s bed to fend off malaria. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This Little Light of Mine

In Haiti we’ve discovered an unfortunate correlation between the distance a student must walk to get to school and her marks in the classroom: the greater the distance, the lower the marks. Some of the MBB scholarship recipients in Gros Morne, Haiti, walk several hours to and from school each day. By the time they reach home and finish their domestic chores, daylight is gone. Lacking electricity, the girls could not study.   MBB recently delivered solar lamps to each of the scholars so that now they have a decent chance to do well in school.  Here a grateful MBB Scholar poses for a photo holding her lamps.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

One Precious Life

These days there isn’t too much to smile about in S.Sudan. Its neighbor to the north (Khartoum) is once again sending Antonov planes to drop bombs on South Sudan villages.  President Omar al-Bashir in Khartoum has warned that the people of South Sudanese are “vermin who don’t deserve to live.”  Free translation: “We need to destroy the South Sudanese living on the oil-rich land that I want.” 
But this precious young child is smiling as she leaves Mapuordit Hospital, cured of malaria.  And for the moment, that is news good enough for her Mother.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

And the winner is.....

Mercy Beyond Borders is now 4 years young!  And we've just reached another milestone as well: our one-millionth dollar donated since the day we were born!  Thanks to you, our generous supporters, we hit that mark this past month.  The donation that tipped us over the top was $100 from Marie Ziobro in Baltimore.  We'll be sending Marie an MBB coffee mug as our tiny way of saying THANK YOU.  We only wish we could do the same for ALL of you!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Healing or Harm?

During March and April the government of Sudan (Khartoum) resumed its deadly aerial bombing into South Sudanese territory, further destabilizing the fragile new nation.  Bombs have targeted UN offices and also hit civilian villages.

South Sudan, in response, moved troops to the shared border and briefly captured a town inside Sudan, later withdrawing at the behest of the UN.  Both sides claim the oil fields in the poorly demarcated border areas.

Now there are rallies and urgent campaigns throughout South Sudan to recruit youth into the military to "defend the homeland."  South Sudan has also instituted austerity measures that cut funding for education and healthcare in order to conserve resources for the conflict many fear is now inevitable.   Whether South Sudan heads for healing (symbolized by the MBB pre-nursing interns bringing polio vaccinations to this remote village) or for harm (a return to the days when every male carried an AK-47), no one knows.