Solidarity visit to South Sudan: Bishop Abel Gabuza
I went to South Sudan for the first time. I had heard about South Sudan from the Media and through DHPI reports.
When I had received confirmation about the trip to Sudan and South Sudan, I prepared for the visit by reading whatever had been written about these two countries that was available to me. The reading about the history of Sudan was interesting, and the emergence of a new country called South Sudan was fascinating.
I was humbled to be part of this Solidarity visit. It was an extra-ordinary experience to walk in the shoes of another. To pray with one another and for each other. To encourage the other and be in a position to speak words of healing to the other.
I met various persons in Juba. I listened to their stories of the various members of the clergy, the religious and students. I was humbled by the honest sharing by some of the priests and religious. I was touched deeply to see students at the Catholic University in Juba who are preparing for the future which is full of darkness and uncertainty. The presence of war hangs in the air, the reality of under development of the country is clearly visible, and the tension can be felt.
Many shared their experiences of pain, frustration, displacement and despair. All without exception long for peace, stability and democracy to exist in South Sudan so that the promotion of the common good for all will take place. The pain carried by these pastoral workers is the pain they know is carried by the many people in the villages in various parts of South Sudan.
I was humbled by the evidence of hope in the lives of these pastoral workers. They have not given in to despair and will not allow themselves to marinate in hopelessness. I came out of South Sudan inspired by this spirit of hope displayed by the pastoral workers. It was humbling to be in the presence of these great men and women of faith. In the lives of the pastoral workers I met in South Sudan, I found the words of Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1994), the Indian writer, so true. He once wrote, “Faith is like the bird that feels the light and sings when the dawn is still dark.”
The people of South Sudan should never be forgotten.