The civil war in Sudan makes the terrain more difficult to travel over. The situation in Sudan was as dangerous as on the previous trip MCT made in 2004. Traveling through Sudan required caution & as ever we had to have security with us at all times. The two year old Lake Naivasha signed peace treaties are still in place for all parties. The Arab run North’s Al-Bashir led government & some of the freedom fighting & democracy defending southern groups such as the SPLA/M also signed up to the tenuous pledges under the leadership of the late Dr. John Garang.
However, the regular GOS (Government of Sudan) led/condoned sorties by groups like the terrifying ‘Jinjaweed’ continue to cause a lot of political instability in the Western and Southern regions of Sudan. Almost daily there is news on Sudan, especially in the west as in the Darfur region; regarding the continued suffering of the people not to mention Genocide now regularly taking place in Darfur. Maria went to Juba (Christian south’s capital) to visit with Madame Rebecca Garang (Widow of Dr. John Garang) in person. Mr. Garang, 60, died when his helicopter crashed on a return trip from Uganda to “New Site”, his compound in southern Sudan. The SPLM quickly endorsed Salva Kiir, Mr. Garang’s deputy, as its new leader.
But it was Mr. Garang’s widow who would emerge as the savior for southern Sudan, exuding strength in grief & promising to continue her husband’s legacy. Standing next to Mr. Garang’s coffin with their six children at his funeral, Mrs. Garang, 49, comforted mourners, urging them to accept the leader’s death as God’s will and saying: “The lion is dead and we will see what the lioness will do.”
While there we paid our respects to her late husband, Dr. John Garang De Mabior the former Vice President of Sudan & leader of the SPLA/M. The Lioness, Madame Rebecca has been busy as the Minister of Roads & Transport of the New National Unity Government of the Republic of Sudan. Although she was heavily preoccupied with the media at the time, she stopped the press-conference to welcome us & discuss her projects that MCT are involved with like the Woodlands School in New Site near Rumbek in Southern Sudan. New-Site was the preferred home of the former leader of the SPLM before his demise, as it’s near the Kenya border & well covered by thick tree foliage thus providing some protection from would-be protagonists from the North of the country.
Only 5 days before our arrival there, an IED (improvised explosive device) went off killing a mourner paying his respects & injuring security personnel.
Magnus Charitable Trust paid for the delivery of some 10,000 plus clock-work radios which were jointly donated by Brad Phillip’s ‘Persecution Project’ team. These radios are essential for the local population of New Site, Rumbek & students at Woodlands School itself to listen to Christian radio broadcasts as well as outside world services such as Voice of America & British Broadcasting Centre. Maria also helped hand out hundreds of new-testament Christian bibles written in Arabic for Sudanese Christians to read.
All in all, the MCT charitable visit to Sudan & Kenya post the main focus of the trip to Rwanda was a great success & saw more of Africa’s less fortunate people benefit from the kindness and humanity of Maria Magnus’ decision to focus on their region with her quest for donating to endless good causes.