For over nine years we have worked in Sudan. “Khawaijas” (the Arabic word for foreigner) always stand out, and always attract the watchful eye of the mysterious and powerful National Security. Thankfully, up until now, we’ve never had a problem.
However, foreigners working in a South Sudanese refugee camp was a step too far. Our volunteer team (5 Sudanese + me (Dan)) have been with our local partners the Kosti Sea Scouts in Kosti for three days now (at the time of writing, not the time of posting), battling to get the necessary permits to enter the camp – despite the support of unicef and the Ministry of Social Welfare.
Although it is frustrating and tedious from my perspective, I am once again humbled by our Sudanese volunteers. These guys have all given up time from their work, and so although we completely cover their costs, they are all loosing potential income by being here, volunteering to teach children about water safety.
The stoicism with which they deal with each set-back is incredible. There isn’t a hint of weariness as the meeting concludes with the instruction to “come back tomorrow”. We go back to the apartment, we eat, and we discuss the modifications to the schedule to deal with yet another day of delay.
This organisation would not be where we are today without the incredible efforts of our Sudanese volunteers (often in the face of overwhelming bureaucracy). They are our lifeblood, and words cannot express our gratitude to each and every one of them.