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02/09/2012

Beginning a new project ~State of North Bahr el Ghzal~

The project that we are undertaking since May of last year in Central Equatoria  State is at last reaching its final steps.

On the other hand、the preparations for our next Project are also in progress. As a part of it, since February we are conducting a field survey at the relatively safe zone of the State of North Bahr el Ghzal in South Sudan.

The State of North Bahr el Ghzal is situated on the Northern part of South Sudan, and is right near the frontier with Sudan. There are many returning citizens from outside and inside the country trying to go back to their hometowns since last year’s voting, which made South Sudan an independent country, and from all the 10 states that the country has, this is the second state that has the most returning citizens.

 It takes us 3 hours from the capital of Juba inside the state of Central Equatoria and stopping at the city of Wao. The place at which we arrived was an airport constituted only by a runway.
(Photo of the plane, used by the United Nations)

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The Southern part of North Bahr el Ghzal State, due to the raining season from June to December that makes going from the main road to the villages by car difficult, has been always a region avoided by the support groups.
We took a look at those villages.

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At the village of Manga Gier, we visited the family of  Magd Muwarel. It was midday, when the kids had just returned from getting water. It takes 40 minutes to go and get the water and another 40 to come back. It is the work they do in the morning and in the afternoon. 
That day, they had just returned from getting also some extra water with a small recipient for a sick kid.

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This little kid washed a cup, poured some water in it and gave it to the sick kid. Although it seems that he does not wash his hands before eating or after he goes to the toilet.
We hear that the not knowing the importance of hygiene and being unable to get clean water through the raining season provokes diarrhea on both kids and adults.

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A normal day for them goes like this: they cut grass (check the photo below) from the forest and they make them into bundles to sell for about 10 pounds each (about 300 yen). Apparently the father goes to the capital which is hundreds of kilometers far from here to work, together with the brothers that also study there.

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Later we visited the nearby school to which the kids go to study, the Elementary School of Manga Gier. As we were on the holidays of the dry season(from December to April)we could not find any students, but we managed to meet vice-principal and talked with him.
(vice-principal is on the right side of the photo below)
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He told us about the conditions of the well and the toilets, and also about hygiene education. There are near to 800 students studying here, but there are no school buildings or teachers. The classrooms are the shadows under the big trees on the surroundings of the training field.
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There is also a toilet made by the community.

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Inside there is a hole made with rocks.

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It felt quite small for an adult.
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There are only 2 toilets like this one. We hear that the female students use them while the male students do their necessities where the grass is abundant. The below item is strongly needed in that kind of moments.

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It is just a tree branch, but they use it as toilet paper. Apparently there are states where people use rocks. They throw them inside the hole after.
As there is no well in this school, the students can’t wash their hands after they are done. As it takes 40 minutes by feet to the nearest well, they cannot spend their precious school time on going to get water.
Commemorative picture with all the family.
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We have just begun our survey in this prefecture、but we plan on comparing the results from this field survey with other regions and public data from organizations such as the UN, discussing with local administrations etc. so we can understand this problem better.

February 9, 2012 in South Sudan |