“Why Boma?” is the question most often asked when I am sharing with people about SEA Partners. They are excited to hear about the project, but are very curious as to why we chose such a remote location. It’s a great question, but the answer is quite complex.
In 2005 we were invited by the local authorities to visit Boma and witnessed firsthand the marginalization of this Murle community. With minimal access to education, clean water, food security and medical care, a profound sense of hopelessness had settled into their hearts and minds. Roads into the Boma area are little more than trails that become impassable during the rainy season making chartered plane flights the only feasible method of bringing in both people and supplies. The community in Boma, South Sudan has been marginalized. But in spite of these challenges, both the mental state of the population and expense of transportation, the Lord filled our hearts with love and compassion for these beautiful people and led us to become involved in their lives through capacity building initiatives.
Elvis is a 6th grade boy and has his own farm.
(Last week I shared with you the story of Elvis and how he acted on his Faith Learning Center’s agriculture class. This is just one fantastic example of capacity building in Boma.)
Capacity Building Projects in 2015-2016
Over the next 12 months we intend to initiate two capacity building projects that can be self-sustaining going forward. The first is a bread making business. In 2012-13 we had a very successful bread making business that generated revenue and profit. This project was shut down due to the conflict of 2013 and we are now ready to reinstate it. Our three new Kenyan teachers are all able bread bakers and we intend for them to train two local South Sudanese ladies to not only bake bread, but to sell it locally for a profit. (As a little side note, there is already demand being generated by the large number of soldiers living nearby.) Not only will this project create revenue to aid in operation of the school, but these local women will learn a skill that will allow them to provide for their families.
In order to begin this project we need to raise $3,593.00 to purchase the initial supplies to make the bread and replace the pans lost during the conflict of 2013. If you feel led to help us train the women of Boma and increase the sustainability of the Boma school, please consider an online gift. This project will have immediate impact.
Our second project is to increase our agriculture program in order to both sell produce in the local Boma market and for exporting to other communities. We planted 20 acres of corn (maize) last spring and we are now harvesting it for food. It is likely this crop alone will provide food for the School Feeding Program for the balance of the school year. Praise the Lord for this amazing success!
The ground in Boma is quite fertile and can grow two crops per year. We will soon be planting a second crop of corn, beans, cassava, and sweet potatoes. It is our intent to use this next harvest to subsidize food for our staff and then to sell enough in the market to purchase seeds for the next planting. We have made contacts in Juba, the capital city of South Sudan, who will aid us in finding ways to get our surplus food production to other markets. This is a very exciting step for us because if we can make this work, we can increase future production. We have already had preliminary discussions with the Governor of the state and with the local County Commissioner who have given verbal approval to grant SEA Partners more land to cultivate.
The agriculture program will not only provide jobs for the local villagers, but will also help to develop and grow an economy in Boma. As more families move back to the area, it is important to have both jobs and food available for them. During my visit in July, the local market had food to sell but not nearly enough to meet all the demand. I was told that people have some money to buy food, but there is not enough food available. So, if SEA Partners can add more goods into the market, the economy in Boma will increase with the result of more lives being impacted through our efforts.
To set up this new program, we need to raise $8,625.00 to purchase and transport the seeds and to pay the local staff to clear the land, cultivate the fields, harvest the crops and bring them to market. We believe the proceeds from this project will provide the funds to reproduce the process in the spring making it self-sustaining in a very short time. In order to begin this program, we need immediate help. We must begin planting these crops in late August or early September to ensure everything is in the ground prior to the coming rainy season. Please consider a gift to help us get this project off the ground.
After many challenging years of work in Boma, we are now beginning to see the fruit of our perseverance. I Thessalonians 5:14-15 says it well:
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
God has called us to help the less fortunate and being patient with everyone is a huge part of that calling. Standing alongside and supporting the people of Boma is a worthy and worthwhile mission, and though difficult, together we can see God transforming this into a community of hope where anger and revenge are replaced by love and forgiveness; where there is real joy rather than despair. We trust you will continue this journey with us and share in the wonder of His handiwork in Boma.
May God bless you and keep you;
Donnie Brake, Ed.D.
PS. If you would like to support our capacity building in South Sudan, please consider an online gift to help the children in Boma.