One Family’s Story

WilliamWilliam and his family are a part of our faith community in Wagga Wagga, recently he travelled to South Sudan and shared his story with UnitingWorld, this is a part of their story…

On Saturday 14th December, William, his wife and two daughters travelled from their home in Wagga Wagga NSW back to South Sudan to bury William’s deceased parents.

They drove through Uganda and across the border to South Sudan. The day after their arrival fighting broke out in the nation’s capital between supporters of President Salva Kiir and those of his former deputy, Riek Machar.

This is William’s story.

My family and I had just travelled over the border into South Sudan. We had Australian dollars but quickly realised we could not exchange this into South Sudan currency. So we had no money to buy food or water. Not realising fighting had broken out, my brother and I travelled into the capital, Juba, to exchange our money at one of the bigger banks.

We were shocked at what we saw there. The people were fighting. Just outside the bank two people were shot and killed before our eyes. We quickly turned away and headed out of the city but it wasn’t safe to run – running made it look like you were part of the two groups fighting and if people thought that, either group would shoot at you.

We walked out of the town and into the bush, but still with no food or money we could use in South Sudan. I tried to go back into the city again the next day but by then it was impossible – fighting was everywhere.

We reached my brother’s home. He gave us food and took us to a telephone where we called the Australian embassy in Kenya. The embassy could not get us out of South Sudan, but they could fly us out of Nairobi in Kenya if we could get there. But how could we get to Nairobi? We had no money and it was too far away. For two weeks we stayed with my brother in the Magwi district. He took on extra work to get money for us. He chopped trees and burnt the wood to make charcoal. With the money he raised he paid for lifts on two motor bikes to drive us over the border to Uganda. Just the children and we fitted on the motorbikes, we had to leave a lot of luggage behind as it didn’t fit. In Uganda we were able to exchange our Australian dollars and travelled by car to Nairobi where my family and I were flown safely back to Australia.

But we left many people behind, including our friends and relatives. They helped us so much and it was horrible leaving them where they could so easily come to harm.

I ask you – please pray for the people who remain in South Sudan, as so many of you prayed for us when we were in danger. Please pray they have water, pray for the schools, pray for the hospitals. Pray peace will return to South Sudan.

UnitingWorld is raising emergency funds to support our partners in South Sudan as they respond to this crisis. All funds donated will be used by our partners to provide relief to those in most need. To donate to our South Sudan Emergency Relief Appeal please click here.

Source: UnitingWorld