From the Field – Dan’s Travel Notes

There are a lot of wonderful things that happened on the way and when I arrived.  They picked me up immediately and i went immediately to work meeting with C&D and also with CRS and had a really good discussion with CRS which may likely result in them talking to their donors about a oxen training program involving slip scrapers being used to build the road to Werkok.  Bridget (regional CRS manager) popped into our conversation (she had to drop something off in the room and I had a moment to talk to her about what I was proposing with the oxen training program).  She gave her approval behind what I was proposing and she also agreed we should have another meeting to discuss the possibilities in more details.
Just before boarding the plane I walked up and introduced myself to the Bishop of Ayod which is near Duk.  He and I talked a bit and he told me that they have about 23 trained oxen and so I am going to start negotiations with them to see if they would be willing to come down with their oxen and help with a training.  Also Dick Roosenberg is heading to Uganda in a week or two and offered to build more slip scrappers for about $300 each for our use.  In addition, everyone seems to like the idea of a lady trainer from northern Uganda (a Tillers International connection) coming to Bor to train in oxen.  Also, the Pochalla group I stayed with the night before last in Juba is willing to connect me to the only man in the Pochalla area with trained oxen.  He has a number of them so I am going to invite him to come and train if the CRS donors give approval.
My problem in the past with organizing this training was the cost and difficulty of bringing teams of trained oxen all the way from Gulu, Uganda and Tillers seemed to see that as a big hurdle and also we might find difficulty with oxen that could be found willing to be trained locally.  As I meet with officials I will make a list of those who would like their oxen trained.
Slip scrapers fill a huge need here locally and can impact peace.   Every pond that is dug reduces tension over water and creates an opportunity for communities of different tribes to “come to the table” and agree how it is to be used before it is even constructed.  Those communities which can create bonds of peace and negotiate their differences and forgive past wrongs could be targets for training programs working with getting their oxen trained with slip scrappers.  This can be a selling point to donors.  And of course we would like to use them for building the Werkok road and reduce the human labor element.
Please have the Sunday school class pray that I can get a horrible pinched nerve worked out of the muscle in my neck.  Not sleeping on a proper pillow the first night really got to me.  I found some other pillows and I think I have it resolved but when I get a pinched nerve it makes me feel sick and weak.  That combined with the intense heat and having to take malaria medicine which also could be affecting me some (not sure) seems to have me feeling more on the weak side than the energetic side.
Had a great conversation yesterday with a friend in the Ministry of Education who came to my Godly Governance training and was one of my best participants.  He wants to get the local commissioners to come to the next training as well which is a great idea.  We asked if he would go with us to invite them and I think he will.  I expect to hold the training the first week of March since the students are out on “summer break”.