The walk itself is about 80 steps – give or take depending on the time of day, condition of the path, and how fast I need to reach the washroom. Joel and I live in a small, one-room tukul in a corner of our compound while the showers and toilets are at the other corner. But the point of this post isn’t to discuss our compound lay-out or the pros and cons of having a detached shower/toilet – it is about the walk to said location.
A short time ago there were two very happy occasions. First, the large tree in the middle of our compound started to bear fruit. Since this is our first year in Sudan, we are interested in the fruits and vegetables that are growing here and get excited to discover a new food. The fruit was definitely fig-like but unfortunately not as tasty as the figs we ate in Georgia. Yet, we rejoiced in this new tree-development.
The second happy occasion was the ordination of a Sudanese priest. We work in a parish that consists mostly of missionary Fathers and Sisters from around the world. While this is interesting for us it has been made very evident that the lack of Sudanese leaders in the church doesn’t make it very sustainable. (There are a number of speculations about why Dinka people do not become priests or sisters. One is the importance of having a family and many children in Dinka culture. Another is that in many families children are given certain roles – one takes care of the animals, another gets sent to the big town/city to look for petty work, one gets to go to school. The schooled child is the one expected to support the family when they finish. It is usually these educated ones that may become interested in joining a religious order. But if they do, they will not be able to support their families. So the families discourage this life path.) So there was much rejoicing last Sunday when a Dinka man joined the priesthood after many years of training.
For the ordination many people were invited and a feast had to be prepared. Scores of women came to our compound’s kitchen to sort beans and rice, clean greens, cook the traditional flat bread, and peel potatoes. The guard men on our compound started butchering – a goat and two cows. These butchering took place beside our shower/toilet building.
After the feast and celebrating the leftover food and meat (raw and cooked) was put into our garbage pile – on the other side of our shower/toilet building. – I think maybe you know where this is going.
The fig-like fruit tree decided to over-produce an abundance of fruits that nobody eats and soon littered the ground, fermenting, and mushing under our feet. This decaying smell is the first smell that greets me in the morning as I leave our tukul on my 80-steps walk. The second smell hits me as a pass the last tukul before the shower/toilet building – cow innards and decaying flesh. It is a lovely way to start the morning – wouldn’t you say?