Saturday, October 5, 2013

$1,000 left to fundraise! My South Sudan trip inches closer...



It's time for another update; I'm about two months away from my trip!  To date, I've raised $3,575 (WOW!) out of my goal of $4,500.  My fundraising website is here: http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/pennygage/southsudan My ticket to South Sudan via Nairobi, Kenya has been purchased by the Alaska Sudan Medical Project (ASMP)!  I will be there December 15, 2013 - January 10, 2014.  I'm taking off a few days early from school (I've arranged with professors to take a couple final exams early), and will miss the first two days of the spring semester, but I'm making it happen!  I'm preparing my South Sudan visa materials (this process should be pretty easy since I know the South Sudanese woman who processes visas at their embassy here in DC), and starting to think about packing.  Lightweight tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, antibiotics...  I feel like I'm returning to the Peace Corps!  I'm going in for some vaccines and to pick up preventative malaria medicine next week at the Georgetown student health center.  It's really happening!  Although, I still have a little bit to go to reach my fundraising goal.

I am SO grateful to those of you who have donated to my project thus far.  As I prepare to travel and after my trip, those of you who have donated will hear much more from me as I write blogs and share my experience.  I encourage you to pass on my fundraising page to others! I've been amazed that people who I don't even know have seen my page and donated; I'm feeling very empowered by your trust and energy, and excited for the trip.  For reference, here is a map of Africa highlighting South Sudan's location:

And here is a more detailed map of South Sudan, with a red arrow at the top pointing to the Old Fangak region where ASMP works and where I will be visiting:



I couldn't help but think about those less fortunate this week when the the annual Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) checks were disbursed to eligible Alaskans.  Many of you who read my blog are friends and family from back home in Alaska who receive this yearly check ($900 this year), which is a distribution of the oil wealth our state enjoys.  This check was undoubtedly a needed boost for many families dealing with the high cost of living in Alaska and rising heating and travel costs.  As Alaskans debate whether or not to raise or lower oil taxes, and how to best develop our resources and plan for the future, I am reminded of the similar struggle happening in South Sudan.

South Sudan is also endowed with oil reserves, however their journey to develop those resources has been fraught with war and fighting with the north.  Most of the oil is now produced in South Sudan, but the country is landlocked and remains dependent on Sudan because it must use Sudan's export pipelines and processing facilities. In early 2012, South Sudan voluntarily shut in all of its oil production because of a dispute with Sudan over oil transit fees.

Last month, two oil fields in South Sudan came back 'on line', 21 months after they were shut down.  South Sudan’s Petroleum Minister said the reopening of the fields will not only lead to an increase in oil production but also signaled a warming of relations with Sudan.  According to the Oil & Gas Journal, Sudan and South Sudan have 5 billion barrels of proved crude oil reserves as of January 1, 2013. According to BP's 2013 Statistical Review, approximately 3.5 billion barrels are in South Sudan and 1.5 billion barrels are in Sudan.
I hope that the development of these resources can be a force for development in South Sudan, rather than a catalyst for division and fighting over borders and wealth-sharing between the north and the south.  As I've mentioned in previous blogs, South Sudan is just over two years old - having declared independence from the north in July 2011.  Last month in New York City at the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting, South Sudan's Vice President James Wani Igga spoke to delegations on his country's relations with Sudan. Igga said that it has been “a mixture of cooperation and squabbles” but acknowledged that there is “no alternative to lasting peace other than harmony and cooperation.”
That's all for now.  Please pass on my fundraising page to those you think might be interested in this project; I have about $1,000 left to raise for ASMP (of course, I can go over this goal, also) :)
Thank you for reading this blog and for supporting this project!

1 comment:

Alistar Johnson said...
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