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Delivering aid during South Sudan's rainy season can mean getting seriously wet. Photo: George Kirimi/Tearfund

Why the extremes of nature cannot stop our teams

By Mark Lang | 23 Nov 2015

Meet the people who'll do whatever it takes to follow Jesus where the need is greatest in South Sudan.

Navigating flood waters, negotiating roads that have turned to mud, dealing with broken down vehicles and walking for miles — just some of the hurdles that Tearfund teams face in the course of their everyday work.

Wading waist high through water is not an unusual experience for Tearfund staff in South Sudan, where the country’s rainy season often brings deluges that turn baked earth into lakes.

With few decent roads, getting around becomes a time-consuming, and sometimes muddy, business.

Tearfund staff wading to get to a feeding centre in South Sudan. Photo: George Kirimi/Tearfund

Overcoming the challenge of South Sudan's rainy season. Photo: George Kirimi/Tearfund

I never cease to be amazed at the determination and ingenuity of our staff
Florence Mawanda, Tearfund's Country Director for South Sudan

12-mile hike

Tearfund staff are no strangers to such conditions and regularly go to extraordinary lengths to follow Jesus where the need is greatest, often targeting communities that are very remote and almost inaccessible.

All manner of transport gets used, from motorbikes to 4x4s, but often there is no alternative to walking and carrying whatever needs to be delivered, as our photographs show when a team travelled to the town of Motot where Tearfund runs a programme to feed children and mothers suffering from malnutrition.

Porters ended up carrying aid more than 12 miles because roads were made impassable to vehicles by rain.

Motorbikes can help Tearfund staff reach places that other transport cannot. Photo: George Kirimi/Tearfund

Reaching the parts that others simply cannot reach — sometimes two wheels can be better than four. Photo: George Kirimi/Tearfund

Overcoming obstacles to help people

‘Lack of proper roads makes getting to those that need our help tricky, but I never cease to be amazed at the determination and ingenuity of our staff who don’t let these difficulties stop them,’ said Florence Mawanda, Tearfund’s Country Director for South Sudan.

A major part of Tearfund’s work in South Sudan is running feeding programmes for malnourished children and their mothers. Some 4.6 million people need food aid and there are fears that could rise by another 3 million.

‘With the UN warning that parts of South Sudan are facing acute food shortages, it is vital that we continue to do all we humanly can to overcome obstacles to helping people,’ said Florence.

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Written by Mark Lang