Letters from the Field

Last month in Yirol I bought a heifer—a brindled two-year old, not yet in calf. In the Dinka cattle-naming system a cow like this is called nyang, the crocodile, a reference to the... MORE >
Letter from Isoke No 12: Church, government, school fees, rebels, full moon and stars
I’m back in Isoke, and writing in the dark. It’s been fifteen months since I was last here. I flew this time, from Juba, the capital of South Sudan, to Torit, in Eastern Equatoria. From... MORE >
Letter from Kapoeta: Fewer guns, more waterpoints
Last month I drove some 1,200km around the country of the Toposa and the Nyangatom, cattle pastoralists who live in the lands north and east of Kapoeta, in Eastern Equatoria, in one of the... MORE >
Letter from Isoke No 11: Ghost teachers, scorpions, broken chairs
The subject of the Comprehension test in the school certificate exam this year was cattle-raiding. Cattle-raiding is a specialty round here, so it was much easier for the students than last... MORE >
Letter from Isoke No 10: Pregnant students  and guava thieves
At the beginning of term two students turned out to be pregnant. One was a sponsored student of ours. She wouldn't tell me, though it was obvious. Later she wrote me a letter admitting it.... MORE >
Letter from Isoke No 9: Death and tractors
A man called Luka climbed a cassia tree in the parish grounds to cut branches to sell, having taken five of six sachets of the strong alcohol they sell here called ‘Empire’. Drunk, he fell... MORE >
Letter from Isoke No 8: The diary project
The mechanic, Michael, drove our newly repaired tractor from Narus to here, a distance of over 100 miles. The vast lands at Lolit 16 kilometers away, which are earmarked partly for the... MORE >
Letter from Isoke No 7: Violent incidents at Isoke school
Last term was the first time at Isoke School that we didn’t have to end early from lack of food, so perhaps we are getting on a firmer foundation. Sorghum from the school garden lasted a... MORE >
Letter from Isoke No 6: A teacher crisis
The three late-coming teachers never arrived, and well into the term we had no one to teach science except the Accounts Teacher, who stood in for the maths and physics teachers. The... MORE >
Letter from Isoke No 5: A walk to the network
Term is already into its fourth week and still the Ugandan teachers have not arrived. But the mobile network, which you can find by walking three kilometres, finally started working again.... MORE >
Letter from Isoke No 4: The food problem at Isoke school
So term ended early again, and once again because of food. This time I don’t think it’s incompetence, though it is true that neither the Head, nor the Deputy Head nor the Director of... MORE >
Letter from Isoke No 3: The feast of Christ the King
The Parish Compound consists of our four-bedroomed guest-house surrounded by the huts of others living in the Compound: three orphans, three staff and occasional guests. This Saturday we... MORE >