Vicky's home isn’t like anything we’re used to seeing. Physically, its uniquely South Sudanese. These 8 improvements will illuminate life in South Sudan.
But it isn’t just the physical differences between living in South Sudan and other parts of the world that make this home a special place.
Uniquely South Sudanese House
The poles that frame a customary South Sudanese home are connected with split bamboo rods. The gaps between these poles are filled with broken brick or stone.
Then mud is mixed and plastered over the outside. To complete the home, the floor is covered with a thin coat of inconsistent cement.
Split bamboo poles, filled with broken rock and brick then covered with mud plaster.
Debora, one of the orphaned girls living with Vicky, mixing mud plaster.
Unlike western, first-world construction, there is a separate structure for the bathroom facilities, which is separate from the kitchen, which is separate from the sleeping areas.
This “compound” is surrounded by a privacy and security wall.
Bamboo posts planted next to one another keep the compound secure. Matted grass is attached on the inner side to ensure privacy.
Meals are prepared on a kanun.
A kanun is constructed with bricks on the ground, then covered with clay. It has two tunnels at the bottom where wood is inserted beneath a grill-like piece of metal.
Pots are placed on the metal grill to prepare food.
Household water - of extreme necessity in such a dry climate - is kept in a large drum. The drum is filled by a water delivery truck...whenever it comes by.
When ITMI’s Steve Evers and Kent Reisenauer visited our South Sudanese partner, Vicky Waraka, she and five orphaned girls she took in had just moved in to their compound.
Their sleeping quarters were standing, but the mud plaster had not been completed on the outside of the structure.
The bamboo poles had been planted around the compound, enclosing it, but the woven bamboo had not been added for privacy - meaning any passerby could see the girls while they were inside the compound.
Three sides of the bathroom facility were wrapped in blue tarps, so those who could see into the compound could also observe daily bathroom usage. The exposure was high because the facility was located in the corner of the property, near the bamboo fence to be close to the street for future septic removal.
Especially at night when the need for light would create shadows on the tarp walls.
ITMI's Vicky Waraka and Kent Reisenauer in front of the tarp bathroom structure.
Steve and Kent brought the story home to ITMI supporters, who responded with inspiring generosity and compassion.
Two months later, Vicky reports on the progress.
1.A brick bathroom facility has been constructed!
The inside is in the process of being plastered. Vicky and the 5 orphaned girls she cares for have a the privacy they need!
The blue tarps come down and in their place, solid brick offers safety and privacy.
2.The sleeping quarters are being plastered.
A workman prepares to plaster the outer wall of the sleeping quarters.
Outer plaster on sleeping quarter building.
3.Work has begun on adding a third sleeping room, allowing the girls a little more space.
They were very grateful for what Vicky has provided them with, but they were all sleeping in one room. This third room will relieve the cramped nature of such accommodations and will also allow them a place for guests to sleep if needed.
Three of the five orphaned girls in their bedroom.
4.The bamboo compound fence is complete, secure and private.
Woven grass has been attached on the inside, preventing anyone from seeing inside the compound from outside.
5.A larger kanun was constructed by a potter.
The new kanun aids meal preparation.
They can now heat food in two pots instead of one. There is a cooling platform next to the kanun so there is a place to set a pot after it is finished on the stove.
Vicky's old stove in front of gaping bamboo fence.
6.The kitchen door is being repaired.
7. A larger water drum has been obtained.
This family is less likely to run out of water in between water truck availability. This has also prevented construction from being stalled for lack of water.
The black water drum allows water supply to last two weeks.
8.Fumigation was completed.
Since the house walls are made with bamboo, they are at high risk of being damaged by termites, locally known as arda.
Vicky’s home is in an area with tall grass that is a favorite habitation of harmful reptiles, snakes, large lizards and frogs. The dryness of this area is ideal for scorpion breeding, too.
Regular fumigation helps keep these threats from venturing near the property.
A Uniquely South Sudanese Family
The physical uniqueness of South Sudanese construction isn’t the only way this home is unique. It is unique because of the family it shelters.
This family is special because, well, Vicky is special.
As a South Sudanese woman, Vicky has faced many trials and counseled countless others facing trauma, heartache and hardship. She handles them with grace and unwavering faith.
“However, we are thankful that for every hardship we experience, the bigger the testimonies we will give,” she writes.
Vicky’s unwavering faith in Jesus in the face of such adversity and the humble posture she takes as His follower create something that incredibly rare.
Vicky balances confidence in Jesus as Lord, Protector and Savior so beautifully with humility and servanthood. She exudes humble confidence in Him.
“When we are in Christ we are bound to face many challenging situations that will test our faith to remain faithful or give up our faith. (1Peter 1:6-7)
I thank God for always being there for me in good and troubled times.
When I felt stranded and saw no hope I called on the name of Jesus and I found refuge. In Philippians 2:9-10, for sure it does not matter how big the problem is for at the mention of the name of Jesus it must bow.
I thank you all for your support and the great unconditional love that you have showed me throughout all these years I and my family now have a roof over us.”
Vicky’s calm trust in Jesus and the wisdom built by years of strengthening her faith is something desperately - desperately - needed in Vicky’s community.
Faith and hope - the kind Vicky demonstrates in the face of trial - is desperately needed where Vicky is.
Vicky during a counseling session.
Seven days a week, Vicky visits, prays with and gives counsel to people who come to her or her church with broken lives, broken relationships and broken minds.
She helps them see how who Jesus is offers them healing, restoration and freedom.
Through your partnership with Vicky, you have reached out and offered true and lasting help to soul after soul affected by the ongoing tribal warfare, political violence and poverty enveloping South Sudan.
Sunrise in South Sudan.