From 3/24/10 through 4/16/10 Dr. Misghina Abraha of Minneapolis , MN traveled to The Sudan with Dr. Ruth Goehle as a medical assessment team at the request of LIMM and LCMS World Mission East Africa. Dr. Abraha had been in eastern Sudan 1978-1980 as a refugee from Eritrea and later for a brief visit in 1990 for two months as a medical student from working with International Red Cross in a refugee camp in eastern Sudan . Khartoum 20 years later was completely unrecognizable. On arrival in Khartoum the team was welcomed with open hearts and arms by our brothers and sisters in Christ both at St. Paul s Lutheran Charity Hospital and the congregations of the of Sudan.
Rev. Emmanuel R. Bafuka, Dean of the Northern Deanery, Rev. Andrea B. Tingidi, Dean of the Great Upper Nile Deanery, and Vicar Felix L Mugadi, waiting his ordination, are some of the church leaders who minister to the people living on the outskirts of Khartoum, the capital city of The Sudan, in locations referred to as the Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps. Initially these were camps with thousands of tents which are now converted to camps with thousands of tiny mud brick homes but still with no water or electricity and very limited means of transportation to each other and to Khartoum . Dr. Abraha was able to attend and Easter services at two of the congregations and witnessed a number of baptisms and confirmations.
Weekdays were spent with the clinic staff of St. Paul Hospital or at Health Clinics supported by the Sudan Council of Churches (SCC) for the inhabitants of Mayo and Jebel Apulia IDP camps, accompanied by Dr. Sofia Adam a senior medical officer at St. Paul Hospital . These clinics, run by nurses and health assistants, provide critical preventive care and some acute medical care to the Dips at low cost. But these clinics are few, and their low charges not low enough for most of the destitute IDP population who number in the thousands.
The highlight of my visit to The Sudan, beside working with the clinic staff of St. Paul Hospital and the IDP camps clinics mentioned, was definitely witnessing and praying with the growing congregations of our sister church in the Khartoum area, states Dr. Abraha. The needs are many, the distances are great, and the resources are few. It was a privilege to listen to them, to worship with them, and to reassure them that their brothers and sisters in the US still care about the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sudan .
Many thanks to Rhoda and Rev. Claude Houge who welcomed the team to their home and who, along with Catherine Mouthe, facilitated logistics, Daniel Zogbo who coordinated travel and stay in Khartoum; Rev. Emmanuel R. Bafuka, Rev. Andrea B. Tingidi, and Vicar Felix L Mugadi who spent much precious time teaching the team about the St. Paul Hospital, the Church and the IDP, and the medical staff based at St. Paul Hospital.