The Holy Trinity Peace Village
Final report from director Erling Sævareide
HOLY TRINITY PEACE VILLAGE KURON
January 10th to April 3rd 2013
This is my first and final report from my three month stay in Kuron.
I arrived in Kuron on the10th of January together with Åge Clausen. The first two weeks were used for orientation and acclimatization. We were busy, in addition, with preparations for the donor conference.
I formally took over director on the 24th of January.
Ezra, the deputy director, and I soon came to an agreement as to how to share the work load.
Ezra became responsible for the administrative duties while I concentrated on completing unfinished building projects and making preparations for the construction of the footbridge over the Kuron River.
Logistics and long distance transport
Advance planning and preparation is vital to the smooth and optimal running of Kuron.
The dry season is the only period of the year when supplies can reach Kuron by road. For the rest of the year Kuron is only accessible by air.
Logistics have to be well planned because many items e.g. food for the school children, cement and other building materials, fuel and heavy spare parts, have to be stored in sufficient quantities for the following nine months.
To cover building needs during the rainy season 42 tons of cement and 200 sheets of corrugated iron and other building materials have been ordered. These should be in Kuron before the end of April. This will boost considerably ongoing construction projects.
To enable the storage of all these items a 240 m2 Rubb hall (aluminum frame covered by canvas) was ordered and is now in the process of being erected.
Production and transport of local building materials
Building projects are dependent on sand and aggregate. Large quantities of both had to be collected and distributed before the start of the rainy season
Sand is dug from the river bed in the dry season and transported to building sites by tractor.
The JBC used for digging sand is old and undependable. While it was out of action many tons of sand was dug manually by woman and children working for food. Another 300 tons is needed to maintain activity at building projects.
Local people collect aggregate (coarse gravel) which is exchanged for food or cloths.120 tones was collected and transported to building sites, another 80 tons is needed.
100 tons of good quality ma-ram, found close to the airport, has been transported to building sites another 60 tons is needed to finish the ongoing building projects.
Local transport difficulties
There are perpetual problems with the tractor and the JBC. The two lorries have long past retirement age, they were owned by the NCA project in the 80's. They frequently require repairing and are heavy on fuel but have been vital for the functioning of Kuron, transporting children back to school, food for the school\clinic, machines and tools for the VTC, cement and other building materials.
Kuron also has four Unimogs.
The Sisters House
The sisters’ house which has been standing uncompleted for several years is now finished and ready to be occupied.
The Vocational Training Centre
The VTC, is now completed after delays due to the problem with the JCB.
The kindergarten foundation is finished. The ready constructed sections (from Germany) have arrived from Mombasa and are waiting to be assembled.
The Suspension Foot Bridge over the River Kuron:
This bridge which connects Kuron Village and the Youth Center was washed away by floods two years ago. A good deal of the materials for rebuilding was donated by Fosnavåg Notbøtteri and transport costs were covered by a Herøy Rederi, two companies in Norway.
Other materials were gathered on site. Problems arose to begin with because of lack of necessary tools.
Harald Erland – a senior voluntary engineer from Norway - helped tremendously making all the drawings and calculations for the construction during the two weeks he spent in Kuron in February.
Three of the local staff was assigned to work on the bridge. They were very enthusiastic. The Bishop was also very enthusiastic, contributing with both encouragement and manual input. It has been a demanding and exciting project with many setbacks.
When I left the foundations and towers were constructed and the cables were suspended across the river.
EDUCATION, HEALTH AND RECONCILIATION
St Josephs Primary School:
The school started towards the end of January and over 300 students enrolled. The housing capacity is stretched to beyond the limit. The foundation has been started for a prefabricated building which will be used as a dormitory for the girls.
The four neighboring Catholic parishes and schools have been closed over a period of two years. This has compelled Kuron to admit more students.
The clinic staff is doing a good job, but is seriously understaffed. Key staff threatens to resign. The Health Minister for Eastern Equatoria State has promised more staffing. Chris Huby, a British medical doctor, was a great help during the two month period he was in Kuron. In addition to practical work he was, together with his wife Guro Huby a social anthropologist, working on plans for extending the work and scope of the clinic. The Huby couple has been working in Kuron voluntarily for two months.
In the future the clinic must have its own annual budget and adequate staffing in order to be able to plan and meet increasing needs.
Peace and Sport:
The Peace and Sports program aims to reduce tension and violence between the different tribes. It monitors conflicts, generally related to the ownership of cattle, and has helped to create a forum were leaders can meet and discuss problems related to cattle raiding. The staff is active in schools advocating peaceful alternatives through the educational use of theater and roll-play.
During my three months staff from The Peace and Sports program was involved in resolving a serious conflict between the Jie and the Toposa. Five Toposa were killed and 4 wounded and more than 40 calves were taken. Together with the commissioner for Kapoeta East 10 days was used to solve this problem.
OTHER ACTIVITIES DURING THE LAST THREE MONTH
The donor conference was held in January between 20th and 24th 2013
The budget was revised based on the funds pledged by donors. The implementation plan is in progress to produce a working pan for Kuron 2013-2015.
End of year Reports 2012 were prepared and submitted to donors before the end of February 2013.
First quarter reports have been prepared and submitted to the various donors that are supporting Holy Trinity Peace Village Kuron.
The management of The Peace Village Kuron has approached the donors regarding funds needed for the implementation plan. Positive responses have been received from some.
Kuron has a number of very dedicated and resourceful employees who are doing admirable work, often in very difficult circumstances.
Many are separated from their families for long periods.
Most of the projects are under budgeted, partly because of high transport costs, partly because of inadequate planningg. The result has been innumerable delays and unfinished projects.
My three months in Kuron have been interesting, very rewarding and different to previous experience in Africa. I started my 'career' in the South Sudan in the early 70's with Father Paride Taban in Palotaka. I feel extremely privileged to have been able to help the Bishop in his latest project focusing on Peace and Reconciliation.
The project is very important as a stabilizing factor in an area where cattle raiding and violence are endemic and people have not had access to either health facilities or educational institutions.