Jolien Veldwijk – Peacebuilding Initiatives Rotating Header Image

The most Northern place in the South

Last Wednesday the team and I arrived in Renk, the most Northern city in Southern Sudan, I can’t get any ‘northerner’!

With an extremely loud voice proclaiming ‘Alleluia’ from a nearby church in the background, I thought I should write a little update about the progress of the work here. The last couple of days we spent mobilising the participants for the workshop on cross-border relations that should start upcoming Thursday. We crossed the Nile (!) to visit the commissioner of Manyio county and he promised to invite the chiefs, representatives of women groups, leaders of youth groups, religious leaders, trade union leaders, etc. The same goes for Maban and Renk County.

This means that next Wednesday 73 participants will arrive from different areas on the North/South Sudan border to talk about their post-referendum future here in the city of Renk!

As you can imagine, a lot of practical things will have to be in place, and we have been working hard to achieve this: meetings with caterers, guesthouses, interpreters, government officials, civil society leaders, commissioners, etc. But how exciting it is! Everyone is extremely supportive and cooperative and wondering why no one came to them to do this a year earlier. Well, the only thing I can say is that we are here now!

My living circumstances are quite luxurious for local standards, but in my weak moments I find them not always easy! We have problems with electricity (which means no fans to cool us off a little!), very primitive and shared (!) latrines and showers, and hardly no internet. But it brings great benefits!! We live in tukuls (huts of clay and straw), we get to sleep outside under the most beautiful starry sky, and the sun is always shining.

Once the workshop is in progress I will write another entry. Until then, I am hoping for rain. Not only does that mean we will cool off but this also means that the roads will be too muddy to drive back, which means we will return to Malakal via the Nile. 8 hours on a boat on the Nile. Fantastic!!

Comments are closed.