OBBO, SOUTH SUDAN
AN OUTSTANDING DEVELOPMENT IN OBBO - SOUTH SUDAN
Just a few years ago the Directors of African Action met a young couple who had moved to Australia from South Sudan. Through the developing friendship that developed it was found that this couple were committed to finding a way to assist those of their community who had not had the opportunity given to them. They were not willing to forget that friends and family members and many others were ‘doing it tough’, very tough in Obbo, South Sudan.
Now with five Australian born children they have invested much time and energy to serve their community back in Obbo, South Sudan. They were willing to deny themselves in order to help others. On the basis of this commitment the leaders of African Action International decided to include this vision with their own and together this vision is now a reality and progressing toward a great community project.
This couple are Mr George Oling and his lovely wife Medina Lamunu. Each year George travels to inspect the project and work with the team in Obbo. Much has now been accomplished.
South Sudan is reached by road over the Northern Border of Uganda via the town of Kitgum. The Obbo community suffered the ravages of war for 22 years until nothing of their former life was left and all had to flee on foot into neighbouring nations to survive. Many thousands came to live in Ugandan refugee camps at Kiryandongo, Kyangwali, and Adjumani and in Kenya in Kakuma Camp, and in other nearby nations.
However, in 2005, a miracle happened, peace was partially restored as the Southern Sudanese people decided on the future of their nation and separated from Sudan in July 2011.
After achieving independence, many South Sudanese returned to their former home regions to re-establish their communities and rebuild on their tribal lands. All former developments and all established infrastructure was gone. The people built mud huts with grass roofs and began to dig and plant seeds to feed their families, relying on rain alone to provide the crops with water.
All families have support themselves through hard work on the land to produce crops with which to feed themselves and their families and hopefully some to sell at local markets. The local stream, which dries up for three months of the year, was their only source of water. Lack of clean water and disease have taken a heavy toll.
Upon their return many families have struggled to survive. Without any medical facilities, schools, or transport, children have remained uneducated, Men have lost hope, many mothers have died in childbirth, and many children have died of curable illnesses. AAI is very privileged to lend these wonderful people a hand in rebuilding not only infrastructure but also hope and love and a future for their children.
About 500 acres of land was granted for the development of the new project by one of the local Chief of Obbo Payam, Mr Jildo Odoch. This gift has made this project possible for which we offer our grateful thanks. We also wish to thank the Board and Village Leaders of African Action South Sudan for their loyalty, integrity and partnership in this work.
The African Action International board, in consultation with the Chief and local leaders decided the first thing to do was to raise funds to drill a bore hole to provide safe water for the community. This was accomplished in the first year of the project and has provided fresh clean water ‘year-round’ from that time.
The Second Step was to build a permanent meeting place where the people could come together to plan the way forward. This has been provided through the building of a large ‘Multi-Purpose Building’ with rooms for the harvested maize to be stored, for community meetings, and Tractor/tool storage. This is the first large permanent building in the district for over twenty-five years. Size???
From this the next step was taken to clear a few acres at a time, uprooting scrubby trees and weeds with mattocks and muscle of local workers and Leaders!! Four oxen have been bought to help with the ploughing of the land. This has allowed an increasing area each year in which crops of maize are grown for local consumption and for sale. Sheds have been erected for the drying of the Maize cobs until ready for shucking and bagging up for market. The development of agriculture raises finance for community works and creates paid work for local people, and will also provide food for future school students.
Education is a primary key needed the development of children and for poverty eradication. Without education a society cannot achieve a suitable standard of living. Unfortunately, many of the people lacked access to education due to displacement in refugee camps. The provision of education opportunities for both adults and children is essential!
The building of a Primary School is in progress now with the first eight classrooms ready for roofing. Adult education in the form of providing access to ‘skills courses’ and other means are enriching the community.
We trust that as we set this vision the resources will be provided.
Our Obbo Project