South Sudan

Thursday

May

08

2014

South Sudan Update - May 2014

by Vernon Giesbrecht

URGENT PRAYER NEEDED FOR SOUTH SUDAN!   SERIOUS THREATS ON TWO FRONTS.

This month we shift the focus of our Update from Haiti to our latest agricultural project in the beleaguered country of South Sudan. If you’ve followed international news, you’ll know that this nation is now in a state of dangerous civil conflict along tribal, political and economic lines. Terrible atrocities have occurred with people fleeing to safer locations, neighboring countries, or over-populated UN refugee compounds. The newest nation in the world, South Sudan declared its independence in July, 2011 after decades of civil war between the north and south, during which over 2 million people were killed and thousands displaced. Tragically, history is now repeating itself internally, with thousands killed in the conflict, while 800,000 have fled their homes, and another 250,000 have fled the country. Our partners/employees at our project have not remained exempt from the tragedies resulting from these conflicts.

URGENT PRAYER NEEDED FOR SOUTH SUDAN!   SERIOUS THREATS ON TWO FRONTS.

Workers in the fieldThis month we shift the focus of our Update from Haiti to our latest agricultural project in the beleaguered country of South Sudan. If you’ve followed international news, you’ll know that this nation is now in a state of dangerous civil conflict along tribal, political and economic lines. Terrible atrocities have occurred with people fleeing to safer locations, neighboring countries, or over-populated UN refugee compounds. The newest nation in the world, South Sudan declared its independence in July, 2011 after decades of civil war between the north and south, during which over 2 million people were killed and thousands displaced. Tragically, history is now repeating itself internally, with thousands killed in the conflict, while 800,000 have fled their homes, and another 250,000 have fled the country. Our partners/employees at our project have not remained exempt from the tragedies resulting from these conflicts.

Drainage DitchThe Double Harvest Farm is located just outside of Juba, the capital, where it is presently relatively calm. However, two of our partners have had to temporarily leave the project, one to attend funerals for 10 extended family members massacred by another tribe, the other to take care of a family member wounded in a tribal skirmish! Our hearts go out to them as they grieve these losses. On the project, however, the day-to-day work of field preparation, planting, and harvesting continues. When local markets shut down (where produce is sold) during rival fighting in and around Juba, the harvest is given to the over-crowded UN refugee centers, if it can be delivered safely. This is one of the serious threats facing our project, and needs your prayers for peace and safety for the entire country.

Meeting with Lawyers and ClanThe other threat has been on-going since the project’s inception. The Double Harvest Farm has a long-term legal land-lease contract with a local village, which it is not honoring and continues to challenge. Numerous meetings have been held with lawyers and government officials who affirm the legality and generosity of the contract but they will not enforce it. The village has begun to take back the land by destroying expensive fencing and drainage ditches installed over the past couple of years. Camels and cattle are again roaming the fields. Excavating equipment are leveling parts of the property right next to our cultivated fields. We fear it will be a matter of time until we will be forced off the land. An active search for a new site is underway and an official has recommended land not far away. However, with the instability of the country and government, we are hesitant to move forward. Please pray for wisdom in decisions to be made in this volatile situation. As in Haiti, South Sudan is not for the faint of heart!

Vernon Giesbrecht
N. A. Coordinator