Thursday, July 26, 2007

July 26th Update from Renk, Sudan

Huts Along the Nile

I spoke with both Peter and Ellen in Renk during their dinner hour today (Thursday, July 26th). All continues to go swimmingly! At the moment, they were enjoying dinner---Sarra (sp.?), their cook, does a terrific job, and does the work on top of being a mother to seven children! They were also enjoying their student guests, who have been telling them their background stories. The stories today were of fleeing to Ethiopia during the civil war in Sudan, and of having to be ordained without much theological education. Our team is so pleased to now be a large part of supplying that missing education!

Peter has been working in the clinic, watching and learning how the local practitioner operates (he does a great job under the circumstances). They have been helping drop-in patients with malaria, diarrhea, and some chronic health problems such as arthritis (which seem to in younger persons there than in the US). They have also helped some pregnant women with their complaints. Peter is developing a list of suggestions, which he may have an opportunity later to communicate. He perhaps will suggest adding a stronger component of prevention to the clinic and perhaps modifying the use of antibiotics there.

Peter plans to move around the area a bit in the near future and learn more about the public health infrastructure in Renk. He hopes to present a talk on this coming Tuesday on public health. It will include an element of theology, perhaps drawing on some of the biblical stories of Elijah and Elisha! He is hopeful that women will attend and speak up at the talk. He has experienced the woman of Sudan to be much more willing to identify problems and needs of a health and medical nature than the men are.

Ellen and Andrew have been continuing their teaching with great success. As Dwayne mentioned yesterday, they were going to try to cut back on the daily teaching hours. Ellen tried that today, but her students objected! They wanted to come back after the late breakfast break, and hear another lecture in her series on worship. I imagine that tinkering and adjustments in scheduling and approach will continue to go on. Assigning homework just does not seem to work in Renk. Last night after dinner the night got dark quickly, and there was no electricity for light to study by. Andrew has scaled back his teaching of Greek to about 50 minutes a day. By anyone's standards, that's plenty of Greek to absorb in any 24-hour period.

Ellen is getting toward the end of the book of Exodus in her series on worship. She had encouraging words today about the participation of women in her course, whom she has intentionally been trying to draw out into the discussions. Five or six women have been attending the course, and they spoke up today when she invited their participation. She has also been encouraged that Martha, the dean of the Renk Cathedral, has been willing to speak up and be involved in public discussions. One interesting fact is that apparently the women have appointed one of the weekdays (I think Ellen said either Tuesday or Thursday) as a "women's sabbath," when the Christian women set aside time to meet together, study, and pray.

Andrew's Greek teaching seems to be going really well. He is continuing on with the initial start at Greek made by the immediately preceding teaching team, which did their work earlier this month (July). The students have been learning the "case" structure of the language, and picking the idea up pretty readily. This is something of a breakthrough, since their studies of Hebrew (or English for that matter) would not have given them much of a feel for "case." It would be interesting to know if any of their local languages have something like "case"...


Blogger S and C said...

In an email communication, Lauren Stanley writes: "to my knowledge, SOME of the tribal languages have cases, but not as many as Greek. That's what I encountered when I taught the first Greek class last Fall -- I think it might be Nuer, and possibly some portions of Moro (from Equatoria)." Thanks for the comment, Lauren! ---SLC

Mon Jul 30, 09:24:00 PM GMT-5  

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