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News from Sudan

Republic of South Sudan

Susan D. Lintz

01 March, 2012

It has been awhile since our last update. Our friend, Bishop Wilson Garang has reported that it is relatively safe in South Sudan except for the border areas. The borders, particularly around Abyei and the Nuba Mountains, are subject to continued presence of military along with military hardware. The people of the South pray for peace in all of Sudan.

Southern Sudan Mission has been blessed with the resources to send a brick making machine to Aweil. It has been ordered from South Africa and is in the process of being sent there. It is not easy. South Sudan is unbelievably isolated from a lack of infrastructure and any kind of effective low-cost commercial transportation. Because of that, it costs as much to send the machine there as the machine costs itself.

I had an interesting experience with wiring the funds from a U.S. bank to South Africa. Because I had given the bank an invoice with the wiring instructions, they saw that the destination was Juba, South Sudan. So they held up the wire and I had to complete an affidavit saying where the ultimate destination was, and that it was not going to the North. They finally did send it, and that is a big improvement from before the South’s independence. Prior to that, it wouldn’t have been sent at all and if it was, it would have been sent to another country and then taken in only with lots of jumping through the proper hoops.

These little things are what make it so difficult for the people of South Sudan to get what they need to be productive. I wondered why, in a transaction involving the purchase of a machine in South Africa by a non-profit in the United States a bank had to involve itself in knowing why this was being purchased and where it was going? It was a simple exchange of money for a product. I can imagine a government wanting to know that information, but a bank? Goodness, the bank was acting as a sort of a monitor for the movement of goods. For what purpose – as an assistant to the government?

Governments and banks would prefer dealing with governments and leave people out of the loop. It is that top down control. But when that happens, there is a huge amount of waste and too many benefit who don’t need it at the expense of those who need assistance the most: people are best at working with people and helping each other. Local people know what they need to help themselves.

God‘s blessings in 2012

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