Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Latest News from the Teachers in Renk

Teaching in Renk
Several emails in the past two days have updated us on the great work being done in Renk. Here is an excerpt from Andrew's second email update of a day or two ago:

There's still open latrines everywhere you go, many folks losttheir homes this week due to flooding, and water security is currently zero(we've been told that we will not be showering – at all – over these nexttwo weeks unless we use bottled water – and that goes as well for washingdishes and clothes – with the floods, the Nile water has become completelyunusable. I stink . . . and it will only be getting worse. Those of youwho miss me – you really wouldn't want to be too close to me, and it's justday one!). For us, of course, bottled water is an option – but onlybecause we brought it from Khartoum . . . for everyone else in Renk, they'reessentially drinking pretty contaminated water. There is electricitystrung throughout the city, but it's spotty (i.e. doesn't work during theday, comes on sometimes at night, etc.). And because it's the rainy season,the whole village becomes a mud pit every few days, meaning that every yearmalaria becomes a big problem (though not for me, mom, don't worry – we've got good drugs and DEET spray!) I must add though that I never thought I'dlong for Khartoum – but that hot shower two weeks from now when I travelback up to see Ellen and Peter off is already sounding nice – sigh – such apampered westerner.All in all – it's as basic as you can imagine - I'll try to send some photosalong . . . but it's going to be a long, quiet month for mr. rowell. I'msure it will be a blessing, one not without its hard, lonely moments.There's a substantial army presence here – again, as a border city, it's aplace that the North likes to garrison troops, just to remind the Southwho's really in charge. There's apparently a lot of posturing across thissomewhat-artificial border between North and South. We've seen UN truckseverywhere – though I must admit that I don't know what they're doing herebesides general humanitarian work. Remember, we are hundreds of miles fromDarfur, with a completely different set of political problems/realities. Tobe sure, Renk's problems are great to have compared to Darfur's(!), but it'sstill the most basic, underdeveloped place I've ever been outside of theKabera (sp?) slum in Nairobi. There are, however, cell phone towersEVERYWHERE – and I just called home with a cell phone from my mud hut for$.50 a minute and had an unbelievably clear signal - technology surechanges things, or at least shrinks the world.We toured Renk Theological College and the cathedral this afternoon, andthen hammered out our teaching schedule – for the first two weeks (july 23to august 3) it looks like this, with Ellen doing the lion's share ofteaching and me supplementing from time to time on the Commandments and on how the book of Hebrews re-sees the sacrificial system of the Leviticalcode:*8:00-8:15* am – Devotion*8:15 am* – Tea*8:30-10:30 am* – First Lecture/Discussion on Exodus, Leviticus andDeuteronomy*10:30-11:30* am - Breakfast (Ellen and Andrew return to Guest House torest)*11:30 – 12:45* pm – Second Lecture/Discussion*1:00 – 2:00* – Lunch*2:00 – 3:30* – Greek Instruction by Andrew*7:00* – Dinner at Guest HouseEllen will preach at the cathedral on July 29. Peter (who is amazing, bythe way – he's the chief public health director for Wake County, NC – whichmeans that all he does all day long is think about water and food securityand limiting the spread of communicable diseases – I think I'm going to takehim with me wherever I go from now on) will be working with a local clinicevery day.Ellen and Peter leave from Khartoum on August 6. I will then begin to teachintensively on the Book of Hebrews from August 8 to August 15


Blogger Eliz F said...

WOW, about the water!! Eeek. Sure appreciate your posts about what's happening there.

Thu Jul 26, 01:55:00 PM GMT-5  

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