Monday, 1 July 2013

I'm back!

Just a quick note to say (as you may have guessed from the title) that I'm back in Yei. And nope, that photo isn't of South Sudan (I wish!). I was in the United States for the past five weeks; for those who weren't aware, I was in Boston for three weeks undertaking a biostats and epidemiology course at the Harvard School of Public Health. Having travelled for 48 hours to get there (I'm not kidding), I took the opportunity to be a first-time tourist to New York City and Washington DC as well. So yes, that photo is of Times Square.

One of the biggest differences between where I am now and where I had been is the (lack of) artificial light. In America (as is the rest of the developed world), we rarely, if ever, live in (literal) darkness. Even at night, lightbulbs and neon signs flash from almost every corner, strains of music (or what passes for it nowadays) can be heard from shops and cars driving past, and cities are filled with pollution - be it noise pollution, smog (looking at you, Indonesia), or rubbish-filled and pee-smelling subways (and that's for you, NYC).

But here? No. Our missions compound is one of the few places in the region with 24-hour electricity powered by a combination of solar panels and a backup generator, essential for our hospital and so convenient for the rest of us. From 7pm onwards, it gradually gets dark and when the sun has set, the sky outside is pitch dark and it's near impossible to walk outside without a lantern of some form. It's so quiet I can hear the insects outside my room (and sadly, sometimes inside too!) and almost everyone (except for the unfortunate few who are on call or worse, have an actual emergency) is in bed asleep by maybe 9pm.

It rather reminds me of what Christ said in John 12:46 "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness" and of what the Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 5:8-14 "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light...for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: 'Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.'" Without Him, our world falls into shadow and without His love, our hearts are darkened by despair and depravity. With Him, it may not yet be day, but at least we know that the dawn is indeed coming and so, we wait.


  1. Very nice to get caught up a bit. Good writing skills. Feels like we are on location with u. We can understand a bit having been in similar circumstances. Nice to hear from you. Keep up the good work and be blessed! Nelson n Maryanne

    1. Thank you! Hope you and Maryanne have been well :) Might not see you in Melbourne if you're back later this year but maybe next year!