I truly am grateful for my experiences and would like to thank the following people:
- My parents, siblings, and family for their continuous prayers and support.
- My friends for their support.
- The Salesian Missions Office in the US and the Salesian Lay Missioner Program for sending me to such a great place and allowing me to be a part of a great program.
- The Salesian Community of Gumbo for housing, feeding, taking care of me and accepting me as one of your own and as part of your mission.
- The Community of Gumbo and my students/fellow teachers for allowing me to serve you on my mission.
What have I learned? How do I feel? How am I coping with the situation? Do I miss home? These questions are such simple questions but unfortunately all require long answers. There are many things I have learned and done during my 8 months in South Sudan that it would take me either to have a great conversation with you, or for me to write a novel about my experiences. So rather than reading about all my experiences and what I have learned here in my blog, I encourage you to reach out to me and video chat or talk to me when I get back about my experiences, that way I can also promote the idea of interaction with others in the digital age.
Overall, I am feeling great about living in South Sudan! I am so happy with the work I am doing in Gumbo, South Sudan, and will continue to say to anyone that asks, that I am enjoying my time here and I am in love with the people here!
I know I sound like a broken record, but I urge you to continue praying for my mission and above all, continue praying for peace in South Sudan. As mentioned in my last paragraph, I am in love with the people here, the children bring a lot of happiness and joy, while the men and women I work alongside and for are people who I admire and care for so much, they are the most caring and loving people I have met! It is my hope that these people I love so much can one day live in unity and peace!
|Posing with some of the children after daily rosary!|
|The children and I are having fun with the camera!|
|These children wanted to take their picture with me and then became shy when it was time to take the picture!|
|These children were not so shy about taking their picture!|
|This boy had a lot of balloon hats that fellow volunteer Michael made for him, so I asked him if I could wear one.|
|This is one of my good friends!|
|I am in the blue shirt playing basketball underneath the rainbow (thank you Michael for taking this picture)!|
|Sometimes the poses these boys make are very funny!|
|These boys always greet me in front of the church!|
|Oratory at the sisters' compound! I was taking in the beauty of the children enjoying oratory with the sisters!|
|Playing saxophone with the brass band!|
|These boys just started learning, so I was happy to help them with their scales!|
|They are off to a great start, we hope to develop these boys to play a couple songs by the end of the month!|
|In the morning on my way to work, I always run into kindergarten students going to school as well!|
|Giving a good morning talk to our graduating students at the VTC!|
|I am very proud of this small group of students that are prepared to go out into the world and become great technicians!|
|With one of the electrical students and the solar panels he is installing!|
|Supervising his work!|
|"Installing the light and air-conditioning!"|
|But really, I was acting as if I knew what I was doing, I really didn't do anything!|
|Supervising one of my students' work.|
|With Mr. Michael (like the dean of the VTC) inspecting this student's installation work! The student seems quite happy with his result!|
|This student is explaining to us and his teacher what he did!|
|Overall, I told him that he did a great job!|
|Most of my days at the school I am in the office doing administration work for the VTC!|
|Some days I am in the classroom teaching English or Communication Skills!|
|I really enjoy teaching and I love my students!|
|My students are very attentive and committed to their studies!|
|It is a great joy and pleasure to be teaching my students!|
|I am sorry, as you can see, I am sweating a lot! Juba is very hot!|
|Students are intently listening to me telling them a story!|
|Here I am enjoying a traditional South Sudanese meal!|
|I got to see the River Nile with my friend and fellow volunteer James from Kenya!|
|James and I walking in the rain! ( Thank you Italian Volunteer Margaret for taking this picture!)|
|I tried to imitate my friend's pose in this picture!|
|Enjoying the sunset at the end of the day!|
|I usually play guitar in the evenings to relax and to enjoy the beautiful sunset!|
|The sunsets are so beautiful in Gumbo!|
|Sometimes while I play guitar, I also pray for peace and for patience!|
|Playing guitar while enjoying the sunset is so relaxing and a perfect way to end my day!|
|Fellow volunteer Michael and me with some of the boys!|