I have been thinking about how to describe the past couple of weeks, but I have found it difficult to find words. The best way to summarize the past couple of weeks is, Be careful what you wish for.
For months, Brian and I sat in the basement of my parents house, talking about how all we wanted was to be back in Sudan, working, being busy, having purpose, etc, etc. Well we are finally here, and boy did we get our wish. Brian told me that last week was the single most stressful work week of his life. He has been pulling 14 – 16 hour days so consistently I stopped counting. You see, everything has started happening all at once. It is as though, after all of the waiting, we arrived back in Kassala last month and something gave way. We have suddenly found ourselves in a flurry of activity.
This month, Joanna will open a Therapeutic Feeding Center for malnourished children, our Education program is being launched, we are developing Hygiene and Sanitation promotion curriculum and wells are being dug as quickly as possible. We also got news that our doctors might be finally arriving after over a year of waiting to get into Sudan… which means that on top of all of this, we will be looking at opening a hospital that has been locked up and unused for years.
There has been a theme of the past two weeks which we are calling “The Good News Phase” (genius, I know). Good news has happened so seldom in our experience here that we are obligated to give credence to this phase by naming it… even if it’s not the most creative name. We are getting cooperation and support from stakeholders suddenly; doctors might finally get here; all of the programs are moving ahead smoothly… Joanna made the comment that, in her memory, there had never been a week with so much good news. The biggest excitement in recent days was when Brian was able to get travel permission to see a village that SP has been trying to get into for over a year. So Monday, Brian hopped in a car with a bunch of Sudanese guys to try to see and understand the needs in this village in a 3 day period of time. They slept under the stars, and drove from one area to another, eager to see this place that has been so restricted. They came back hot and tired, but proud of the hard work they had done.
We are sure this “Good News Phase” cannot last forever, but man has it felt good. After all of the delays, obstacles, hurdles and challenges our whole team has experienced in the past year, the relief and air of excitement in the office is palpable. I think one of our colleagues, Ibrahim, said it best this morning when he was telling me about his trip with Brian, “We are very blessed to be able to work and receive a salary for trying to help people. These people, they really need our help and we want to help them. With God’s help we can really do something for them, so we are really blessed.”