The following is the third in a series of blog posts, entitled "Notes from South Sudan", by Lynn Malooly, Executive Director of Water for South Sudan. She and several other WFSS team members traveled to South Sudan in Spring, 2018. Look for more stories in the coming months.
A highlight in our visit to Wau, also home to the WFSS Operations Center, was our visit to the Zogolona Primary School, serving approximately 800 students in grades one through eight. The WFSS Board approved a sanitation project as part of our 2014-17 “Watering the Seeds of Change” Capital Campaign. After much research, Zogolona was chosen as the recipient of our pilot school latrine project. The initial step required bringing water to the school, and WFSS installed the first well of the 2017-18 season at the school in December. Ground-breaking for the latrine began in January and is expected to be completed at the end of May.
We enjoyed a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the entire school community, along with visiting dignitaries from the local government. Witnessing the streams of children coming out to meet us was so moving. Knowing that these students now have access to water during their school day warmed out hearts and helped us see the real impact of our work.
Garang John, the deputy principal shared his thoughts, and enthusiasm for our work. “We can now eat the sweet fruit of water which is life itself. WFSS has done a great job. Keep up the spirit of what you have done. You will be in the history of Zogolona Primary School. The community will stand strongly for fundraising to support the latrine for the future.”
The state of Zogolona school, like most in South Sudan, is in need of improvement. Small classrooms in the very basic, hand-built buildings are filled to over-flowing, and some classes even meet “under the trees.” Access to a latrine will change the educational experience for every student. Most schools in South Sudan do not have latrines. When students need to relieve themselves they walk up to 30 minutes away to find a private place. The new latrine will eliminate that absence from learning, and especially enable girls to stay in school.
After additional meetings in Wau, we would be heading out into the field, away from civilization, and into the heart of South Sudan to meet the people we serve in the remote villages.