Haiti Update - September 2017
by Vernon Giesbrecht
SOUTH SUDAN IN DESPERATE NEED – A little history first. After decades of conflict between north and south, in January, 2011, South Sudan declared its independence from Sudan as the newest nation in the world. With the country’s rich oil reserves, military clashes continued to occur along the border. And, Sudan (north) pressured Christians in heartless ways to leave the country as it became an Islamic state under Sharia law. After an escalating political squabble, over the past four years South Sudan itself has experienced civil war along tribal, political and economic lines. Terrible atrocities have occurred with people fleeing to safer locations, neighboring countries, or UN compounds. By some estimates, tens of thousands of lives have been claimed and over 4 million people have been displaced from their homes!! The results – a near “famine classification” with aid blocked by armed forces, low harvests because of fleeing farmers, and soaring food prices. The country is in desperate need as one of the least under-developed in the world.
TRIP PLANNED TO SOUTH SUDAN – Double Harvest has partnered with another organization in overseeing and resourcing the 250 acre Double Harvest Farm just east of Juba, the capital city. Because of the danger, it has been years since representatives from our organizations have visited the project. With tensions subsiding, three men will travel to South Sudan in October. Please pray for their safety and wisdom related to future plans. While the goal of the agricultural project remains the same (see below), we have seen a lessening of animosity from the village with which a long-term lease is in place. As a gesture of goodwill and to further assist the struggling economy, we hope to assist them in providing training and resources to make their smaller gardens profitable. The Nile River, which our project borders, will provide irrigation. The river is also seen as an important transport and trade route for the country as it flows through this central region of Africa. Please pray for a cessation of the civil strife so the country can begin to recover!
DOUBLE HARVEST IN SOUTH SUDAN – We have also worried about the safety of our four national partners in charge of the farm. They have sent their families to safer areas but have courageously remained at the farm with the possibility of losing it if abandoned. They continue to irrigate, plant and harvest but most markets are closed (to which produce is sold) due to the danger. So, produce is given to local UN compounds or aid organizations to help feed the refugees. Please join us in prayer that the civil war and unrest will give way to peace and stability for the people; and, so the work of developing a sustainable, profitable vegetable farm can continue. Our mission is to provide affordable, quality produce for the people of South Sudan to offset the grossly inflated imports from Kenya and Uganda. Thank you for standing with us in this tense situation!