Best School in the State

Post a Comment » Written on October 2nd, 2009     
Filed under: Community Development
We began our journey from Fangak to Bentiu at 5:30 AM in the pitch dark in a fast moving speed boat. When the commissioner of Fangak heard that we were planning to take the ECC of Sudan’s boat, he offered to let us use his speed boat.  Originally we were told that the trip in the church’s boat would take eight hours, and then later the number went to twelve and then sixteen. The speed boat was too small to take our whole group so most of the ECC of Sudan leaders took the slower boat and finally arrived twenty hours later.

The first ninety minutes in the speed boat on the White Nile were an exhilarating ride in the moonless night. About three hours into the ride the White Nile turned south and we continued traveling west through narrow tributaries. We soon found the waterways clogged by vegetation floating down the river. We spent more than an hour grasping the floating vegetation and their massive root systems to literally pull the boat through the clogged waterways.

We reached Bentiu at 10:30 AM and were met at the riverside by an enthusiastically singing delegation from the Bentiu Covenant Church. The only accompaniment they use was a large drum. This is what we have seen throughout our travels in Sudan.  We have been blessed by this wonderful singing everywhere we have visited.

We were then driven to the Good Hope Basic School operated by the Bentiu Evangelical Covenant Church since 1999.  With funds from the CHIC/CWR offering of 2006 and some additional donations to CWR, they were able to build two concrete buildings with two classrooms each and an additional small building with lavatories. There are also five other classrooms and one small kitchen which have been built out of reeds. These simple facilities are utilized by more than 1900 students ranging from kindergarten through grade 8 attending classes in two shifts during the day. Good Hope is officially recognized by the government which means that they provide the text books and pay most of the teachers’ salaries. Tuition is kept very low because most of the children come from very poor families.


During a brief ceremony I was asked to dedicate the school and cut the ribbon.  The Covenant church and school leaders expressed their gratitude to CWR for the great improvement to their facilities. However they also expressed the need for more to be done. The classrooms are very over-crowded. There is very little in the way of equipment and supplies. Students either bring their own chairs from home or sit on the floor.

Later that day when we drove past the school there was very expensive looking vehicle picking up some children. James Tang, the ECC missionary working in Sudan, told us that the school has a very good reputation and that many government officials send their children there.  Earlier today the country director for World Relief International told us that Good Hope Basic School is regarded as the best school in Unity State.

The reality in South Sudan is that a large number of children are not able to attend school and the schools that do exist are struggling to provide a good education because of very limited resources.

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