Jordan Hattar graduated from high school a few weeks ago and then headed to south Sudan. He met up with his friend Deng in Kenya and they headed to Kampala to buy supplies and hire a truck to take the goods to Deng's home area in Sudan. Deng had been studying in the San Jose area earlier this school year when he and Jordan met. Not sure when they hatched this idea to go back to Sudan together. Jordan along with friends and family in Templeton Ca did a bunch of fundraising to be able to buy mosquito nets and text books and more for the people of Deng's area. (Deng is one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan" – but not "lost" at all today!)
Below is one of Jordan's most recent reports. I will post some earlier ones in the following days.
Check out His face book page – Jordan Hattar! Drop him a line of encouragement or thanks or something!
Some people talk about doing something one day, Jordan is doing it today!
REPORT FROM JORDAN:
Today was the most intense and terrifying day of my stay so far. First let me touch on the mosquito net distribution. We have distributed 440 of the 500 nets. The distribution in Malek went well yesterday. I am going to survey the Leprosy Colony that is across from Malek and I have a feeling many people don't travel to their small location much so I am eager to see what life is like there compared to life in Malek.
We also have distributed the books. It turns out over 80 % of the 420 books are present and we gave the math, science, and english books out to P4, P5 and P6 (the classes range from 1-6). The number of students is classes P1, P2, and P3 outnumber the number of books and they are younger so we will not have them take books home, but use them at school.
The teachers will give them out and collect them as need be. The teachers here in Malek are trying, but a few aren't paid, some are paid very little, and I never know who will show up. I don't even know how many teachers we have. . maybe 6? Anyways the school was built last year with Deng's work and now that the building is there I hope we can start getting teachers. I was thinking maybe go through a University with a teaching abroad program, but the village life is very different and I do not know if colleges are willing to partner. If you have the contacts and have the time please look into a way we change make school better. As I wake up every morning I never know when school will start, maybe 8:30 or 9, or even 9:15. There is no schedule but the kids mostly show up early and wait for the teachers.
Back to today. I was teaching P4 today. Just as I was assigning homework on when to use capital letters our school day was suddenly interrupted. A few of my students rushed to the doorway (no door exists on any of the 5 classrooms yet) and I went to see what was everyone looking at. A tall man maybe in his late 30's whom I have met several times before ( I do not know his name). As he was approaching the school I could tell he was angry and shouting things.
However shouting is typical in Malek the difference today was he was carrying his AK 47 and it was in his arms. I began to get nervous and thought to myself " I should have given him a mosquito net.. " ( many men from the village came to our distribution center and tried to get a net, I told him and several other men to leave. He told me he was my "security" and I responded I don't need security. The night before I thought that possibly I could have ticked the men off, but they aren't the ones who can die from , it's the pregnant woman and small children whom we decided to give nets to, no one else.
So as he walked towards the school ( a dirt/ muddy open field as big as a football field) he fired a shot downwards. I began to yell to the students to come inside but they remained at the door. Deng approached the man from many 20 yards away and with his hands together I could tell he was trying to plead with the good side of this troubled drunk man. The man started walking towards the school, but as the field was muddy it's hard to tell where one is headed.
I then came out from the classroom near my students and edged closer to the road side (since my room was directly in the middle). I thought of how I was the only white man out of maybe 200 other bystanders. Then he moved towards the long hut to the left of the school and with Deng at his side banged on the iron sheet. Then Deng got the gunman to sit down and Deng and another man quickly removed it from his grasp. It was all over.
Many of the children were laughing at this point which I cannot understand. I guess we just have grown up way differently, although we are not that much different. This disturbance at school shows that war has long lasting effect on a country. It will take decades to repair Southern Sudan, but with education it will happen.
Deng's courage shows that love is stronger than hate like Dr Martin Luther King says," Hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that."
Also keep a little boy named Maneu is your prayers. He was bit by a scorpion, I wasn't sure if he was going to make it. I cleaned his wound Saturday and he looked kind of out of it. Jacob Malual translated to his siblings on what I was doing, and I gave him an Ibueprofi (half a tablet and an E-mergency vitamin powder for his water. Sunday he looked a lot more alert and I think he is doing better! 🙂
Hope all is well back home!
ps Don't worry about my safety, the distubance in Malek was isolated and anytime I feel threatened I will come to Bor or leave the area. I think about all you guys a lot! Thanks for all the mail and kind messages.