The purpose of sharing Yar’s story as a Lost Girl of Sudan wasn’t to make a good read. I wanted to help raise awareness of the suffering in South Sudan; to make a difference for the people in this neglected war-ravaged part of the world.
The political, economic, and humanitarian problems in South Sudan are huge and overwhelming. Yet, with your help we have been able to make a small difference and save lives—more than we expected.
The future is safer for the more than twenty-one men, women and children we rescued, but it is still bleak.
For now, I want to share a follow-up to our fundraiser.
We could not send money directly to South Sudan. It involved too many risks.
A person receiving large amounts of foreign cash could become an easy target for armed thugs who kill for money. Relatives might receive death threats and also be held hostage for a ransom.
South Sudanese banks are corrupt and hold counterfeit currencies. Tellers in the bank require a bribe to hand over the money.
So, Emmanuel, Yar’s husband, took the long journey to South Sudan following our fundraiser. He is Sudanese. He knows the language. He knows the people. It was dangerous, but safer for a man than a woman.
Desperation greeted Emmanuel when in arrived in the capital city, Juba.
People needing medical help, women with their children wept and begged for help to get out of the country.
A young boy stood crying … pleading.
Emmanuel saw himself in that little boy, thirty-three years ago desperate and alone.
It was devastating for him to watch.
These people are innocent civilians, yet they fear being killed on the main roads exiting Juba if they try to leave on foot.
The only alternative is to fly, but they can’t afford basic necessities, let alone airplane tickets.
Many are left with no choice but to watch their children starve to death.
Emmanuel struggled. Guilt and sadness haunted him. He couldn’t provide airplane tickets for everyone. He didn’t tell them he could not help, nor did he promise to help.
Yet, after bribing the airport workers, he managed to get tickets for some.
I wish we could bring you photos of the children who boarded the plane from South Sudan and who are now in refugee camps in Uganda and Kenya. No one there has a phone capable of taking photographs.
So, instead, use your imagination to picture these children in your mind.
They are boys and girls who like to do the same things as our own sons and daughters—play hopscotch and tag, go to school, and have a home.
Yet, they live with fears beyond our usual daily fears. They worry what will happen to them, and what the future holds. They fear for their lives and for their friends and relatives left behind in South Sudan. They worry if their fathers, fighting in the war, will come back to them alive.
Emmanuel has had difficulty sleeping since he returned from Juba. “I wish I could have brought all of them to the USA with me, but I couldn’t,” he says. “Their cries, their desperation, and their losses are my mine too.”
We are thankful, from the bottom of our hearts, for your help. We are thankful to God for his provision and protection.
Yet, my heart is heavy because there is so much more that needs to be done. Please continue to pray for those affected by the ongoing conflict in South Sudan and other political hotspots around the globe. Our fundraiser has shown that together, we can make a difference.
I am telling Yar’s story in installments every other Tuesday. Please visit my Lost Girls page to read the previous installments