The team from Connor Diocese arrived in Yei, South Sudan, on Tuesday January 15, travelling from Dublin via Amsterdam, Kigali in Rwanda and Entebbe in Uganda the previous day.
After a few hours sleep in Entebbe, the team of eight caught an early flight on a 19–seater Eagle Air plane from Entebbe to Yei airstrip.
The team is led by David Gough of CMS Ireland, who are facilitating the trip. It includes the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, Archdeacon Stephen Forde, Canon Sam Wright, the Rev Andrew Sweeney, Dr Frank Dobbs, Judith Cairns and Diocesan Communications Officer Karen Bushby.
Connor has been in partnership with Yei Diocese since 2006 and since then a number of teams have visited South Sudan, which became independent in July 2011.
They were transported to the offices of the Bishop of Yei, the Rt Rev Hilary Luate Adebe, where the Bishop gave them a historical overview of the diocese which was devastated during the course of two civil wars lasting almost half a century.
Bishop Hilary joined the team for lunch at the Episcopal Church of Sudan Guest House, and afterwards led the group on a three hour tour of the various institutions run by the diocese.
These included the Martha Clinic with its new children’s ward and eye clinic, Emmanuel Primary School, the Yei Vocational Training College and Yei Teacher Training College.
Despite a cloudy sky the temperature is in the 30s. The team has received a very warm welcome from Bishop Hilary, diocesan staff and staff in the ECS guesthouse.
Here the team members give a brief thought after their first day in Yei:
For five years the people in the Diocese of Yei have been praying and looking forward to the Bishop of Connor coming and his visit is so important – Archdeacon Stephen Forde.
Partnership is always about people, not buildings. It is great for me to meet the people – Bishop Alan
More black Kites, motorbikes and the fantastic teacher training centre that I did not know about two years ago – Dr Frank Dobbs
The very gentle humour of some of the people we have met – Rev Andrew Sweeney
When you have been imagining what a place might be like for so long it is great to finally be here and find out that it is way more than I could ever have imagined – Judith Cairns.
Delight and surprise at the new blacksmiths and catering training courses at the Yei Vocational Training Centre – Canon Sam Wright
It was impressed on me again about the importance of developing key relationships – David Gough.
More detailed reports will be posted on the website and in Connor Connections once the team returns.
To see photos of the team’s at work in Yei please follow this link.