This photo is of Sr. Madeline McHugh and I with the Toposa Tribe, who are located about 20 minutes from Narus in South Sudan. Most of the children did not go to school and we tried to encourage the parents to send their youngsters, both boys and girls, to the Primary School in Narus, which has also a boarding school for those who lived outside of Narus. The girls school is administered by Sisters from Uganda, and the boys school is administered by the Sudanese St. Martin dePorres Brothers, with a few Sudanese lay teachers and many Kenya lay teachers on the staff. Eventually a good number of the children came from this village to the two schools in Narus.
Someone from the Maryknoll Magazine was visiting Narus and wanted to get photos of the nearby village. This picture was taken during a “habuub” (a sandstorm) that comes down from the Sahara Desert in the northern part of Sudan. Even though the weather was quite windy and sandy, the people were always hospitable and so happy to greet anyone who came to visit.
The memory of the Sudanese people will always live on in our hearts. Our humanity has been blessed by being among them. The people taught us to ‘live with enough,’ and that there are two things that can dissipate the human spirit: wanting more of everything and not knowing the meaning of ‘enough.’ We also learned through the suffering of the people that a salient part of being human is to try to see that no one suffers alone, that no pain goes unnoticed, and that no pain is without meaning. Because of being with the people of South Sudan, we feel they helped us to discover that the real journey of the missioner is inward and the conversion is not someone else’s but one’s own. The missionary journey is to our true self and our true home, where we are connected to all peoples.