Bishop Andudu Commissions George to Take Medicine to the Nuba Mountains
At the outset, I would like to say that we of the Episcopal Diocese of Kadugli and the Nuba Mountains in Sudan, express our deep gratitude for all the generosity in words and deeds from our brothers and sisters in the Episcopal Church of the United States, particularly the Diocese of Colorado, the Colorado Episcopal Foundation, St. John’s Cathedral, Pikes Peak Community Foundation (The WHD Liberty Fund), the Church of transfiguration, Christ Church, the Church of the Holy Spirit Baton Rouge, the Beloved Church in Covington, churches in the Diocese of South West Virginia, the Diocese of Central Gulf and St. Luke’s church, Diocese of Bradford in England, the Deanery of Bradford in the Salisbury Diocese UK, Samaritan Purse, other denominations and kind hearted individuals.
Realizing the dire need in this man-made misery in the Nuba Mountains, these brothers and sisters of the Body of Christ have unreservedly contributed funds towards the purchase of medicines and some other very basic but important needs for the Nuba people in the war-torn Nuba Mountains State (also known as South Kordofan).
Mr. George Tuto, once a Nubian refugee but now an American citizen, volunteered for the task of purchasing and delivery of these vital relief supplies. Although relatively small in comparison to the gigantic need at the level of the whole state, nonetheless, the people have received them with immeasurable gratitude. They have been using salt for the cure of injuries, both minor and serious, and these medical supplies have made a huge difference in addition to the morale boost and knowing that they are not forgotten! All the clergy who are in Nuba Mountains received some soap and a small amount of money as a pastoral greeting and gift from their bishop it was received with much appreciation.
Here below, Mr. George Tuto describes his arduous and mortally dangerous adventure for the sake of the Nuba people. Initially, the trip was planned for a month, but the unforeseen fighting conditions extended it to almost three months.
“I left the United States of America on November 4th, 2011 and arrived in Kampala (Uganda) on the 5th. From November 8th to 15th, I conducted meetings with a clinical medical project organization in Kampala which Kadugli’s Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail and the Rev. Oja Gafour, Vicar of the Sudanese Community Church at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral, Denver, had pre-arranged for the purchase of the medicines with the donated funds for this relief.
This Ugandan medical project organization facilitated and, thus, enabled us to purchase the medicines from local pharmaceutical companies. Then the need arose for a Ugandan export permit which took a considerable length of time to obtain on December 7, 2011, the very time I expected to return to the United States. More delays happened because of the lack of immediate availability of an experienced truck driver to transport the supplies to Juba. It was December 19, 2011 when we started the one day journey from Kampala to Juba, in the Republic of South Sudan.
Using Salt to wash the wounded Child due to a lack of
Medical supplies and above serious injuries
George sat with Medicines, Salt and Soap for the Nuba Mountains
At the South Sudanese customs office in the border town of Nimule, I was asked for the import permit and the tax exemption authorization and these I did not have. Instead, I asked for a transfer to the customs clearance in a Juba-suburb town of Nestu and was successful in this request after completing applications forms for that aspect. The loaded trucks remained in Nestu for two weeks because of the Christmas holidays and obviously there was no custom clearance activity. During that holiday break, I took the opportunity to approach some leaders from Nuba Mountains who happen to be in Juba, to help speed up the clearance process which again required paperwork which was successful on January 1, 2012.
According to Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail’s prior arrangement, the Samaritan Purse relief organization kindly stored the medicines but flew me to Yida, where the Nuba refugee camp is located. But the medicines were flown on a larger aircraft that unfortunately could not land at Yida as the airport was too small; and it had to fly back to Juba with the load, which was transported later in a smaller aircraft three days later. It is worth mentioning that the refugees (men, women and teenage children) manually cleared and widened the airstrip to make landing possible for larger aircraft.
Clearing the Airstrip in Yida Refugee Camp South Sudan & medicines arrive from the Samaritans Purse
Yida is a border town on the South Sudanese territory. It was bombed by the Sudanese Air Force. Here, there is a large population of children (about 4000) whose education in the Nuba Mountains has been interrupted because of this war and the continuing bombardment of the Sudanese Air Force. These children need to continue education. This is another huge task to deal with, for the future of the Nuba Mountains and Sudan lies with these children, among whom are orphans who are cared for by relatives and non-relatives.
The Trip to Nuba Mountains
“I traveled from Yida on January 15, 2012 to the Nuba Mountains and was lucky to find trucks. Apparently, these huge trucks were loaned to us by SPLM-N authorities in the Nuba Mountains to transport these medicines. The drivers were instructed to be careful not to raise dust, for the Sudanese Army could detect the dust of vehicles in motion and could, therefore, attack them with long-range rockets. With the drivers cautiously watching the speed, we passed safely through the most risky area.
But twenty minutes later, one of the trucks unluckily had a flat tire. It got dark (8:00pm) when we finished repairing that tire. We could not risk using any lights in the dark because we would be spotted and the Sudanese Army would attack. Obviously, we could not continue without lights and, therefore, spent the night in the bush without cover neither against the cold nor the biting insects, especially mosquitos (I was consequently infected with malaria and was eventually treated). At the same night, around 2:00 am, an Antonov bomber flew over us and dropped a bomb on a village about 10 miles away from where we were spending the night in the wild.
We resumed our journey in the morning and safely reached the SPLA/M-N base. We delivered the medicines to be distributed to 30 clinics in the SPLA/M-N held areas of the Nuba Mountains.”
The random bombing happen all over the Nuba Mountains. The Nuba people use holes and mountain caves for dwellings as well as for safety cover. But the unfortunate ones are either severely maimed or killed outright. Clearly, the above-mentioned population of orphaned children is the result of the random bombings. In addition, these random bombings have prevented people from normal livelihood activities, i.e. tilling and farming the land for food. The Khartoum regime insists on preventing humanitarian aid from the international community entering the Nuba Mountains. As such, then, this is the second time that Khartoum regime has used food as a measure of war.
A family living in the Caves on the mountains seeking protection from indiscriminate bombardment
Here, in the United States, besides the Nuba communities, Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail, the bishop of the Diocese of Kadugli has been working hard in order to bring awareness to the people of the United States, the USA Government, universities, and other US organizations and the international community represented in the UN Security Council. This advocacy is on behalf of the entire Nuba population (African Traditionalists, Christians, Muslims, and non-believers) in other words, the Nuba and Blue Nile humanity.
Bishop Andudu Advocacy work (Press Conference) at the UN
Bishop Andudu’s strategy is to allow financial relief to priests and their families and, hence, enable them to continue their ministry in the midst of a tragic man-made chaos in the Nuba Mountains and elsewhere with the Nuba refugees in neighboring countries.
A class Room under the trees in Yida South Sudan, 4000 children need education