We are returning…to South Sudan!

Change is once again in the air in the Kurbis household.  Many of you know that after we left North Sudan earlier this year our visas were rejected by the government of the country and we shipped off to Iraq after a wonderful 2 months at home in order to provide temporary assistance to the office here.  Our time here has been wonderful and we have experienced an entirely new culture in a complex country in an extremely complicated region of the world.  Our first exposure to the Middle East has been great and we cannot imagine a better way to see what is happening then from the safe, beautiful Kurdish region of Iraq.

With that said, it is apparent that Iraq is not the place for us in the long run so 3 weeks ago we began exploring other options.  Long story short, we are going back to South Sudan!!!

“What?!” you say?  “Back to that country that gave you all of those illnesses and chewed you up and spit you out?!”  Yes.  That one.  We are going back and we are, believe it or not, quite excited.  It will be an interesting year for the country as they enter into 2011 where they vote on whether or not to remain with North Sudan as one country, and we are excited to see what happens and are hopeful that things go well.

Brian has accepted the position of Deputy Country Director of South Sudan with Samaritan’s Purse and will be starting his new role on June 18th in Kenya, traveling to the Nuba Mountains of central Sudan on the 21st (in fulfillment of his dream to travel there since first reading about them when he was 16).

Bethany’s situation is a bit more complex as she doesn’t have a contract yet, but the organization that she is speaking with, Medair, has asked her to come to Switzerland for 3 weeks to do interviews and training.  It is a really great opportunity to attend what many of our friends have said is a fantastic week long, intensive training with a respectable organization.  The strong, and consistently restated objective of Medair is to put Bethany through this training (which is a requisite for working with Medair in the field) so that they can send her to Juba ASAP to be either the Human Resources or the Operations Manager for South Sudan!

So, lots of change, several unknowns, BUT it appears that things may actually work out in a good way for us, with both of us working in Juba with separate organizations for the season.  You can count on us descending into radio silence for the next 3 or 4 weeks while we both learn what it is we are actually going to be doing, but count on photos from Turkey, Switzerland, Kenya, and Sudan to be posted sometime in the next 60 days!

A final note: I have signed a 2 year contract and Bethany will be signing a 1.5 year contract, so this should give some of you plenty of time to plan and save up for a trip to see us somewhere in the universe!