Billy Smyth will soon return to his home in Moira from Yei town where he has been exploring the possibility of reopening the Vocational Training Centre (VTC) at the request of Bishop Hilary of Yei.
Retired CMS Ireland Mission Partner Billy, husband of CMSI Mission Director Jenny Smyth, travelled to Yei in South Sudan at the end of January. He and his family had lived for a number of years when there was relative peace.
Read more about Billy’s trip and the partnership between Connor and Yei Diocese.
In a Blog on the CSM Ireland website, Billy reveals that with just a week to go, he is just beginning to get a handle on where to start.
“Just finding out who is who, where things are, what is working, what is available in town, what other organisations are around and who I should visit has been slowly emerging,” Billy writes.
Coming up with a budget, along with Bishop Hilary and diocesan staff, for the reopening of the centre has been a challenge due to ‘rampant inflation and acute shortages of everything.’
Billy has also been doing practical work for Yei Diocese and at the VTC compound. He writes about his helper Sam. “At 22, Sam has just finished his S4 (GCSE) year in school – war disrupts everything and everyone.
“He has land and wants to farm but the countryside is not safe so he squats in town longing for peace like so many others.”
Billy had met with aid organisations in Yei, some of who are interested in supporting the VTC through sponsoring students.
“Offering training opportunities and equipping young people with practical skills are key factors in establishing peace and in rebuilding. So much has been destroyed once again,” Billy writes.
Due to ongoing unrest, more people, he said, are arriving in Yei ‘destitute and traumatised.’
Billy adds: “Despite all the many challenges and all the sadness it has been good to be here. It has given me the opportunity to talk with Bishop Hilary, to experience the situation as it is, to meet friends from the past, to listen to the hopes of the diocese, to make some plans together and to pray and worship with God’s people.”
Read Billy’s full Blog on the CMSI website.