Sweating profusely in the sweltering South Sudan heat, Bul Bul Akol wiped his brow and leaned on his hoe. Using his crude hand tools, he’d been working hard for weeks to get his 15 acres ready to plant sorghum, the staple of his family’s diet.
Bul looked heavenward and prayed: “God, I need help to get this done. Can you please send someone to assist me?”
A few days later, Bul’s prayer was answered when he met a Samaritan’s Purse agricultural manager who offered him an ox plow to help farm his land outside Aweil, a city in South Sudan’s northwest.
“Won’t that [plowing labor] hurt my animals?” Bul asked, expressing a misconception of many South Sudanese farmers.
“If you feed them well, not at all,” our manager replied.
Bul was overjoyed-and the ox plow made a huge difference! It took him only four days to plow a field that would’ve taken two months by hand.
This hardworking farmer was so grateful that he didn’t want to stop plowing. “God told me that this ox plow was not only for me, but I should be a Good Samaritan to my neighbors and plow their farms too,” he said.
Bul plowed another 19 acres to assist them.
With the financial support of the federal government’s Global Affairs Canada agency, Samaritan’s Purse is helping hundreds of farmers like Bul in the Aweil area of South Sudan.
“God told me that this ox plow was not only for me, but I should be a Good Samaritan to my neighbors and plow their farms too.”
In addition to plowing equipment, we’re providing training in modern agronomy practices to increase local okra, pumpkin, onions, tomatoes, sorghum, and tea production. We’re also teaching farmers how to plant and manage their crops, including the use of natural pesticides, and we’re distributing water cans and vouchers farmers can use to buy seeds and tools.
“This process helps build up the local economy and encourages not only the farmers, but the traders,” said Tim Carter, Samaritan’s Purse Deputy Country Director for South Sudan.
We’re also coming alongside local men and women-including Regina-who fish for a living.
“They [Samaritan’s Purse] taught me how to properly fish and provided me with the twine to make my nets and also the hooks,” Regina said, while proudly displaying some of that day’s catch. “I’m now able to not only feed my family, but I can sell the fish and with that money, I’ve paid for clothes for my seven children and also their school fees and medicine when they’re sick.”
What Samaritan’s Purse is doing in northwestern South Sudan is crucial. We’re doing more than simply equipping farmers to increase their harvest. Through another partnership with the World Food Programme, we are distributing emergency food supplies to get people through the lean months after a recent crop shortfall left so many hungry.
“If there was no Samaritan’s Purse to sustain us, I would not be able to survive and would not be here.”
Ongoing military conflicts and ethnic tensions are adding to South Sudan’s food production challenges.
“Many people are becoming desperate,” said Denis Okumu, Samaritan’s Purse Program Manager for food security and livelihoods in Northern Bahr el Ghazal. “Mothers are abandoning their children. Men are deserting their families and traveling back to Darfur in Sudan to be hired as laborers to work on farms, just to get food. So we’re targeting the most vulnerable-distributing sorghum and maize to help feed families until the next harvest.”
Rebeccah, a mother of three, is benefiting from the food distributions.
“I walked a great distance to come here today to feed my three children,” she said. “If there was no Samaritan’s Purse to sustain us, I would not be able to survive and would not be here.”
The situation in South Sudan is dire. Through your donations, please join us in helping men like Bul, and women like Rebeccah and Regina, who desperately want to feed and care for their families.
More than a billion people worldwide are suffering from chronic malnutrition. Through your gifts, Samaritan’s Purse is providing lasting solutions through hands-on farming training, home garden projects, and practical education about nutrition, as well as desperately-needed food staples for hungry families in emergency situations.