Saturday, 11 September 2010

New Beginnings

Thanks for your patience in waiting for our latest from Juba. Things have been so busy it has been impossible to keep up with all the reporting etc. But all the busyness has been worthwhile. In the last month we have a new site to add to our old one, 30+ new students, four new members of staff, and a new affiliation to St Paul's University, Limuru, Kenya! The Salisbury Appeal by Bishop David did indeed bring in the £66,000 for which he asked. Brilliant. Add to this £10,000 from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the £4000 we got from Bridport when we left in January 2009, and we are well on the way to completely renovating two large buildings on our new site, originally built in the early 1990s through the foresight of the then principal, Canon Benaiah. Sadly he died before this site could be properly developed. Indeed the dormitory building was not even completed. It is now. We plan to move the students into this building at the end of next week. We have also constructed a new sanitary block with tiled flooring - which is more than many enjoy here. Check out our latest pictures from the picasaweb website (see links on the right-hand side of the page). This next thing is staff housing. It's a question of whether we can afford one or two houses. If we can build two that will release a house for rent in the neighbour and raise a possible $18,000 more dollars income next year.
We have been inundated with more students than we were looking for. But when bishops and archbishops and all the kingdom of heaven put pressure on you, what can you do? We've got them them in - somehow. So we now have two more classes to add to the existing ones. Tina has 7 in her full-time English group. There are 13 in the foundation year - this consists of students who have not got the qualifications to get into the diploma course. Then there are the two diploma years, one and three (the continuing students). Being affiliated to St Paul's means that we are now a university college offering a university diploma in theology. Trevor and Daniela went to Limuru at the end of August and were very warmly greeted and inducted into all that is necessary to run the course. It was well that the welcome was warm, because the weather was not. The temperate hovered around 12C - and, of course, none of the rooms are heated. It took four thick blankets to be warm enough at night. After three days the cold just soaks right in. Oh, how we were glad to be back in Juba at 30C! Here is a picture of the new library at St Paul's

All through this period our house has been full too. We have had a young woman from the MU called Sarah stay, as well as a doctor and her helper from Uganda. Queueing for the bathroom would not have been so back at times if we had abundant water. However, we only got to the point where we had to carry in from a distance once. We have got through a few candles too as the electricity seems to be feast of famine. We learned that the town powerhouse ran out of fuel.
The political situation here is interesting. The CPA requires a referendum in January 2011 for the people of the south to decide on weather or not they want to succeed and become a separate nation. The general feeling is that that is what people want. However the process appears to be stalled with the registration for the referendum due next month and nothing yet having been announced. So people are concerned. However, we have timed our semesters to enable the students to vote in Juba so we will be back in session on Wednesday, 5th January. We will finish early, therefore, and be in England for all of December.

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