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Dr. Geelhoed update regarding violence in South Sudan and the 2012 mission

Mike Lee

Mike Lee, a native of Chicago, graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Creative Writing. At LMU, Mike developed international and domestic volunteer trips and served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Student Veterans Organization. Mike’s professional background is in advertising and marketing, and has experience in executing large print and digital campaigns for non-profit and tourism clients. He lives in Los Angeles where he thinks a lot about dogs, bourbon, and the Chicago Bears.

1)The current violence is Murle/Nuer at a distance from our area, much like the Nuba Mountains recurrent warfare in armed struggles over the oil patch among tribes that have nothing to do with either Murle or Dinka.

2) Our Dinka/Peace Initiative has held ROCK SOLID and has been the ONLY thing in South Sudan’s history that has succeeded as an initiative for peace among perpetually feuding cattle cultures.

I hope that the Peace Initiative between the Murle/Dinka Bor at PiBor might spread, but I do not want Ajak at risk in harm’s way to go over to the other borders, which he himself acknowledges as getting between Murle and Nuer as a Dinka. That is why I advised that the subprefecture chiefs, and particularly the paramount Murle chief to show the Nuer how the Murle have benefited from the Peace Initiative.

They are looking forward to our return, for which we have pre-positioned some of the supplies, particularly for the mobile surgical mission, all of which have been stashed in MCH with the last container. I have gathered up some big ticket items beyond our capacity to carry in, such as the two dozen hospital beds, but have NO plans to ship another container this year to Werkok. For one thing, we have successfully accomplished this at MCH and have used the supplies that were so desperately needed as a bargaining chip to get the cross rivalries supplied across ethnic lines. We will not need to supply Werkok again any time soon, and I do not want PCC to get accustomed to our regularly sponsoring a container which they might fill with items of their choosing. We will need to supply the LaKungya Clinic after a period of time but only after it is restored, and we are seeking to get that accomplished through another source of funding. Each of our mission sites will need major supplies for which we are accumulating but not until NEXT year, and we will carry in the items we need for this year’s missions as seen on the itinerary through Werkok/Bor/Leprosy Clinic, PiBor/Akobo and then on to Chad and then into CAR. Besides, I am holding photographs of the supplies and an inventory we can promise to them as a bargaining chip for the continuation of and expansion of the Peace Initiative as a further incentive in the Peace Bonus.

The team will be about the same size as this year, with the addition of two med students, who, like this year, will probably split the time. There will also be the Mobile Surgical team from Ecuador so that they will know we are not “colonizing” them from Super Powers, or UN or NGO blank checks, but just one group of volunteers helping another, with emphasis on one poor developing country expertise to another.

We will be chartering the Cessna 208 from AIM Air–meaning it will be with us throughout the PiBor onward to and through CAR and Chad, giving us both added mobility and security, as opposed to being dropped off and picked up on a later schedule. We will be flying many more miles with larger number of passengers and using more fuel since we have a three-nation series of venues. This would mean our costs would go up, but I am pleading for our charter rate to go down. Our increased mileage will be offset by the fact that I do NOT plan on adding a container being shipped in our budget, so that the total costs to be budgeted should be just over that which we had to spend this year.

With almost the same cost, we should get a large amount more return since we will have the entirety of the S Sudan field now expanded through five venues (Werkok, Bor, Leprosy Village, PiBor and Akobo) re-enforcing our Peace Initiative and attempting to get the Lakungya Clinic supported, then through two venues each in Chad and CAR.

So, with all this advanced careful pre-planning and supplies pre-positioned, we may be able to do far more on the itinerary already fixed by our pilot for not much more than we spent this year. We are trying!

Doc G