In mid February, Bol Aweng (Co-Founder of the Buckeye Clinic) and Steve Walker (President) will travel to South Sudan. They will meet Jok Dau (Co-Founder) in Juba and prepare for their visit to the Buckeye Clinic in Piol. In June, a collaborative agreement with the John Dau Foundation (another health service organization in South Sudan founded by a Lost Boy) enabled the clinic to hire a nurse midwife and lab tech, the first medical professionals ever to serve in a radius of 20 miles. The team will meet the new clinic staff and patients, observe patients being served, and assess the current needs of the clinic. They will be joined by John Dau Foundation staff to help develop a collaborative plan for a sustainable model for the Buckeye Clinic.
The team will also meet with the Paramount Chief and other chiefs and elders, and join in a celebration of the accomplishments of the clinic. Bol and Jok fled this village when they were six years old. When they returned in 2007, they saw a village in desperate need of health services. They had a dream of building a clinic to provide maternal and child health services. At the time that seemed an impossible task. But with the help of many friends, hundreds of donors, United Methodist Churches and United Methodist Women’s units, and thousands of elementary, middle and high school students over $470,000 has been raised and the impossible dream became doable.
“God protects us…and you help us” stated Chief Aweng Deng, the Paramount Chief in the Piol area, in a recent phone conversation. He expressed his excitement and happiness to see Steve, Jok, and Bol again. He thanked them and those of us who support this effort for our tireless commitment to Pan Piol Buckeye Clinic. He noted that God is their number one protector. However, he credited the support from we in America as number two, “giving them hope and energy to deal with every situation that comes up”. He noted that he and the other chiefs are in third position “playing our administrative roles”.
Chief Aweng Deng expressed his appreciation for the new health services which are the main health facility in the area. “People are coming from Jalle and Maar which are somewhat distant villages because of the good services.” He singled our Amuor, the midwife at the clinic for “doing an extraordinary job with mothers and new borns. Almost all deliveries are taking place in the clinic and mothers are taking full advantage of this safe and clean environment”.
“Piol would be ghost village without the food and health services provided,” said Chief Aweng Deng. Steve, Bol, and Jok’s visit provides a special opportunity to observe the new services at the Buckeye Clinic, the partnership with the John Dau Foundation and hear from the members and leaders of Piol. The trip will also allow for contacts to be made with government, Ministry of Health, and others to facilitate and sustain the efforts accomplished so far. As the Paramount Chief said in the recent phone call, “God protects us and you help us”