June 20th is declared World Refugee Day. Their motto- "One family torn apart by war is too many." Here in South Sudan they know how to have a Texas-sized fiesta! There are approximately 120,000 refugees from Sudan (our neighbor to the North) and from South Sudan living here in Mabaan County. And just here in Doro alone there are over 50,000 refugees. There are more than 20 different tribes/ people groups here that I know of off my head. Most with their own languages and cultures. Well, today they all came together for a huge celebration.
I think it must be different or even difficult being a refugee in your own country. And the Mabaan tribe (the locals) here in Doro, most now back home, have been refugees for many years before some in Ethiopia or northern Sudan. And even now some Mabaan are still refugees even right here in Doro! There are many refugee camps around the area in South Sudan but I am told the camp here is the largest in the region. The other nearby camps in Mabaan county are Jamam which all refugees are being moved to Kaya due to flooding and the other camp Yusuf Batil. Here are some pictures from the celebration that took place just near the market and the clinic.
Sitting with the ladies enjoying coffee, Rebecca is roasting the beans.
Making coffee here is a process. And not a quick one at that. It's not like back home when you just meet up with friends at the nearest Starbucks or other coffee shop. Place your order at the counter and within a few minutes your coffee is served.
The beans are purchased in the market, roasted over a fire, the ground into a fine powder by hand, and added to boiling water also over a fire. Also, any spices usually ginger and cardamon (also ground by hand) are added to the boiling water too. Before the coffee is served it's strained and served into small porcelain cups with a heaping tablespoon of sugar.
There's no fancy milks or creams or flavored syrups or anything else. It's rather tasty I suppose. I am getting used to drinking the coffee here even though back home I didn't like the stuff. It's simple and very much a part of everyday life here in South Sudan.
Finally a new shipment of medications has arrived here for the clinic. Currently the new storage room for the clinic is in it's final stages of construction! Cabinets are being placed and painted and any other last minute touches.
So in the mean time all the boxes of medications are being stored here on the base. So Diana & I tackled sorting and unpacking all these boxes one afternoon! We went through all these boxes- counted the number of canisters of each drug, noted the expiration date, and documented it in the registration drug book. Then placed them in the current medication room or transported them to the Maternity Ward store room. It was a huge task but thankful that Diana and I did it together!
another before picture
The door on the left leads to the current medication room which is packed full of important medications and other medical supplies or equipment. All the boxes with the dark green markings on the edges are treatment for malaria- it's mosquito season!!! All of those boxes have now been moved to the Maternity Ward store room.
Not only were the children fascinated with my strange object but the adult women were too. It seems that everyone knew it was called an "umbrella" yet hadn't ever seen one up close. And this one was so nifty with a push-button opener. Plus, I think they just loved the colorful polka dots too! I can't even tell you how many times they opened it and closed it over and over again. It never got old. The children were all smiles. Funny thing with these photos it wasn't even raining that day.
It is now rainy season so I carry it with me always. Comes in handy when that unexpected storm pops up out of nowhere. It's not like here we can have a weather report on the TV every night or even from the radio.
Usually I visit the local Doro market 3-4 times a week. Most times to pick up bread. Since there are no preservatives it doesn't last more than 2 days or so. So these children I have seen many times. They don't speak Mabaan, only Arabic which I know very little. They are so shy when I ask them there names. But this week when I went I took out my camera and took a photo of them. There are no child labor laws here in South Sudan like back home. Kinda different always seeing so many children working in the markets but at the same time it seems normal now. They are always friendly.
The boy on the far right of the photo usually yells, "Come & get it!" It always makes me smile. He is a real go-getter and always trying to make a sale! The young boy in the middle usually wears a lilac t-shirt with Disney princesses. That is how I was able to recognize him at first, by the clothes he wears- the same shirt everyday. The 2 girls are just beautiful and soft spoken. Always friendly smiling faces greeting me as I go to the market.
The bread is thick like pita bread and round in shape about 5 inches across. Sometimes it's a little sour tasting but I have gotten used to it's taste and texture. My favorite for making PB&J sandwiches :)
Every Wednesday night my friends and I have dinner together. Each week one of us takes turn cooking something to share. It's nice to have a break from cooking. More though it really nice to not have to think about what's for dinner. I found that is more of my problem. It's not like we don't have food here or anything. It's just trying to come up with something new or different that is the difficult part of me.
Usually my staple food is pasta with garlic and olive oil and most nights with bread. Carbs and more carbs! I guess I could blame that on my years of swimming but honestly don't mind it one bit. I love kinds of carbs- pasta, bread, cereal/ oatmeal, potatoes, and even crackers.
Here is a recent photo of one of our Wednesday night meals together!