Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gary Johnson's "Postcard" from Sudan - November 29, 2012

Here's the latest posting from CCC's Gary Johnson, on pilgrimage with a team from the DIocese of Missouri to Lui, Sudan. Please keep Gary and the rest of the mission team in your prayers and check back here and at

We get very limited WiFI time so here is a letter that I sent to Linda today . We are 9 hours ahead of you o right now it's the 29th. 8:51pm. Lui South Sudan

The morning starts around 6:00am, my room is near where the meals are prepared. Every morning the women start out by sweeping the compound with homemade brooms. Which when your windows are open you start counting their sweep patterns, 1-2-3 pause 1-2-3- pause It's dirt around the rooms with a little grass here and there, very dusty. What grass they have is maintained by cutting it with a L shape machete.

Breakfast is normally homemade biscuits from the night before along with fried dough-balls. I dip them in my coffee then into pure cane sugar. Manedazeti is what they call the dough-balls it has help my sweet tooth since the market doesn't carry any candy bars. The coffee packs are a big hit. I started taking my bottled water and pouring in the instant coffee, put the lid back on and shake. Actually is pretty good when you add a little of their pure cane sugar that they make.

Today we had the best lunch of any meal since I've been here. We had lambbuger crumbled up. Think hamburger helper but with Lamb over biscuits along with a great sauce and fried potato slices. Supper is almost always rice with chicken, beef, or beans with greens that are very close to our spinach.

Dan still hasn't gotten back with our supplies but should be in tonight. Went ahead with our first class today and had ten men. Very limited carpentry skills when it comes to working with wood. Most live in mud huts with thatched roofs. One of the reasons we're teaching carpentry skills is in the last monsoon that lasted several days they lost hundreds of huts. Mostly due to the thatch becoming water logged that the walls cant support the weight causing the walls to collapse. They're going to metal roofs which handle the water, but need the carpentry skills to do the trusses/rafters to support the weight of the new roofs.

The guys are very eager to learn and are quick learners. Started cutting pieces for our first project having them measure and do their own cutting. We borrowed a saw and hammer from a neighbor who makes custom furniture, bed, benches, desk etc. they took turns using the saw. It tuned out to be a very good day. The guy who makes the furniture charges $40.00 USD. for a solid Mahogany bench that is very well built using mortise and tenoned joints. A Mahogany bed hand carved with a footboard & Headboard will run $100.00 USD.

Have a great day, you are loved and missed. I Think about you every-time I see something I wish I could share with you. You would have loved all the kids at the school. They walk right by the compound in the mornings and evenings singing songs.


  1. Please consider cross-posting this on the missioners' blog at!

    This morning we added short videos from U.K. team member Pauline Batstone, including one of the carpentry class:

  2. awesome! And quite interesting....stay well!! DMcCall

  3. Thank you for sharing this with us, Gary.

    I love hearing about the everyday details of life in Lui.

    I wonder what are those "greens" you mention. When I was in Lui (in 2006), we never got fresh greens until our very last night. They were very tasty, and I wondered what they were. Deb Goldfeder told me they were the green leaves from green bean plants. Whatever they were, they were delicious!

    Thank you for explaining about your carpentry classes. I know how ephemeral are many of the structures, and I do hope you can help the Lui men build more durable furnishings and structures.

    You all are ever in my prayers. Please give me regards to the whole team. And thanks for taking the time to send us a report.