Three VSO-volunteers joined the “Run for Light”, a duathlon organised by the UN. 5 kms running and 5 kms biking to raise money for a good cause; buying solarpanels for the children’s ward of the hospital. The hospital does have a generator for electric power, but that breaks down regularly or there is no money to buy fuel for it. Without power some treatments are not possible, there is no cooling fan available and lights don’t work.
Of course there are a lot of agencies doing project in Wau and probably it would have been possible to finance the solarpanels through a big donor. This was not only much more fun (and healthier) but also a way to contribute personally instead of looking at an international organisation again. That happens too much here anyway.
The race was not organised by South-Sudanese but it was organised in a South-Sudanese way. It started too late, de UN arrived at the moment the race should have started en by then the numbers still had to be distributed. Not everyone did get the beautiful yellow shirts, just the people that had already got them the days before. There were shirts enough but they were locked away in a car for fear of a run on them by non-participants. There was no procedure to start, so not everyone was ready for the start. At a certain moment the first group started to run. When the other participants realised the first ones had already started, they began to run after them. Chaos, but fortunately the real fanatic racers (not the VSO volunteers), were in front. Just like in the big marathons the Europeans and Chinese runners were not as good as the East-African runners. De race was won by a South Sudanese men and women.
The amount of money raised was more than needed, so the hospital will get the solarpanels.