To love someone is to know someone
I had the opportunity to sit down with Cirilo Modi and his wife Bronica this week. Cirilo is an amazing man. Here are just a few highlights of his story:
-Cirilo was born in the equatorial region of South Sudan (the capital Juba is in that region).
-As a child he moved with his family to Khartoum to escape the violence of the civil war in the South, and attended Catholic Junior High and Senior High schools in Khartoum
-As an adult, he was hired to teach in a Catholic elementary school in Khartoum and did so for about 5 years.
-In May of 2000, Sudanese officials announced that all elementary schools had to become Islamic schools, including the one that Cirilo taught in. He protested the change, which caused him to be arrested by what he called “Islamic Security.” They held him and tortured him for 7 days. After they let him go to return to his family, he was placed under multiple restrictions, including he was not allowed to travel more than 45 kilometers from his home. (At this time he was married to Bronica and had 3 children.)
-They lived under these restrictions for about 8 months before he risked his life and fled with his family to the eastern part of Sudan near the Ethiopia border, going to an agricultural center named Gaderis. There was really nothing for them there, however, so they ended up in a refugee camp in Ethiopia, where they would live for the next six years. While in the camp, Cirilo worked for a group called Refugee Care (sounds like it is part of the U.N.) as an educational facilitator delivering “peace education.” Part of that training also included teaching on gender equality. Over time, his teaching on that touchy topic angered the other Sudanese refugees in the camp who didn’t like what he was teaching since it was countercultural. Threats were made against his life, which he reported to the U.N. Because of those threats, he and his family were selected for resettlement in the U.S., which resulted in the family moving to Dayton on December 19, 2006 (which is when we equipped/outfitted the house that was provided by Catholic Social Services).
While visiting, Cirilo expressed the importance of the Sudanese Referendum, which is quickly approaching (January 9, 2011). Take a moment to watch a short interview with Cirilo below.
Those Sudanese now living in the US were granted an opportunity to vote in the upcoming Referendum. There are 55 South Sudan adults who have registered to vote in Washington DC. Cirilo told me they need transportation, and also babysitters for over 70 children. I have no doubt there are similar needs in your own community. Do some research, and see how you can reach out to the Sudan Refugee community in your area.
At Ginghamsburg, plans are in the making to rent a couple large busses, and to create a day-camp for the kids.
Being LOUD in support of SOUTH SUDAN,