An autobiographical account of Angelo’s dangerous life journey to reach his goal of a university education in Sudan while overcoming many life-threatening obstacles along the way.
Angelo’s Early Life in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan
I call myself Angelo Hussein Angelo (kuku, firstborn baby boy in the family), born in 1992 in the Nuba mountains of Sudan to Hussein Angelo and Hawa Adam as my parents in a small village called Eree in Heiban county. I grew up with my both parents and my younger brother before the entering of Arabs in our village in 1995 displacing us to leave the village and we fled to the bushes nearby the village hiding.
When the situations intense, In 1997, my father escorted us to a new village 3 hours away footing and he went back to confront the enemies with his colleagues, I stayed with our mum and grand mum in that village. As we were staying there, my mother and her friends could go out in deep forests picking wild fruits and their leaves, like mushrooms, tamarinds (Arideb, Lalilop, Nabak, Tabaldi in Arabic) and other edible grasses to sustain our living or a times they organize as a team and go to our village Eree in the night and bring for us mangoes, guavas, lemons, pawpaw, palm, coconut fruits (in Arabic Douhom, Dileb and Haluk).
Little by little, rain season came, my mum and us cultivated a farm and the harvest was big, she used some of the harvest to sell and exchange to get for us clothes, eating salt….. also I joined Arabic school in 1999 when I was in barrack (chawure village) with my father. Arabic school was later closed and I join English school founded by Lutheran Mission Church, we were paying sorghum, beans, G.nuts, simsim, okra as a school fees inform of money, my brother was young and he didn’t join school. Later when my mum went away and left us, our grand mum took care of us as I go to school and come at mid day to graze our remaining goats. I continued this life until my brother was strong and he started learning how to graze our goats and when am back from school, I go together with him to water center because it was very far.
Our grandmother continued taking care of us until my father married his co-wives but my grandmother refuse for us to go and stay with our father’s wives (step mums) she said she is capable to care for us and she did, we continued staying with her and do help her in the farm, fetch water and fire woods in the house because she started growing older.
- In the 2003, we all went to a new barrack center (kudi south of kauda) 2 hours footing where I continued my studies in class 3 and my brother in nursery.
- In the 2004, we again went to a new barrack (saraf nila ) 6 hours away footing where we both stopped schooling because no school.
- In the 2004-5, Before and when peace was signed, we came back to old barrack center where we first stayed and we went to enroll in school again. Now there was governmental salaries given to the soldiers and my father came to have money.
Life and School in South Sudan
- In the 2007, my father thought of me to come to south Sudan for studies when it got me in p5 and 14+.
- On the way to south Sudan, our older friends cared for us until we reached in Juba and received by Yunnan Musa, who worked for 748 flights and SPLM-N coordinator in Juba, he is a Nuba, it was my first time hear of him and seen him .We stayed for some weeks with him then we went to Yei-river county where we all stayed there and established our big tent given by Yunnan to live in, from here we contributed money we had from Nuba and bought food, later we all enrolled to S.T Joseph primary school and I was in p6, while laying down bricks to building our shelters and cooking on duties after school lessons. We depend on the little money we came along with from Nuba.
- In the 2008, my father sent money and I joined kinji primary school p7 where I did my primary leaving certificate and I went back to join S.T Joseph secondary school in 2009(senior 1)
- In the 2010, I came to Juba and join government school as it was not expensive(senior 2)
- In 2011, June, war again broke out in Nuba mountains and got my father in Jau military barrack in the border with south Sudan training soldiers, here situations went bad again and no support coming to me and I left for casual works within juba, and I worked as a news vendor selling newspaper and magazines, car conductor, serving in the restaurants ……,after I collected the money I went back to complete my secondary school in Rajaf in Juba 2012. After national exams, I waited for results and went working again to get money for transport to Nuba or do any course to help me in future as I may not join university easily and I did a three months computer basics.
Return to the Nuba Mountains
- In 2013, I got money and I bought a camera, a laptop and I took transport to Nuba Mts 7 days on the way, I reached well and got my all families are good only affected by the war, many problems in the house, nothing to feed, the little money I had bought for us some sorghums to keep us while tilling our farms, I left for teaching and my father was in frontline, my grand mum is now old and stays in the house, my younger brother and other brothers and sisters from my step mums were not schooling due to school fees and feeding problems in the house. my younger brother do go to gold areas digging trying his luck, but he do fails to get gold as it requires detecting machine. Sometimes when I’m back home from teaching i do accompany him and spend our night searching but all of us do fail. Soon when I got some money I took him to finish his class eight In Kauda where we both stayed with our auntie. The money was not enough to take them all to school but I promised them if I get work I will take all of you to school because the situations currently took us again in the years of 1990 -2005 and this is a universal problem in Nuba now.
- In 2016, while In Kauda searching for a job with S.P (Samaritan Purse) abruptly I met Nuba Water Project scholarship form and I fill it and it was sent to NWP, after a while I began receiving Emails from NWP, Ex. director, Martha, I continued emailing her too and this gave me hope and very impressed when she started asking me very interesting questions about my village and my career, little by she offered me a chance to south Sudan for university to study agriculture as my career at catholic university -Wau . For a while I received her greetings and university application form from Father Tom assisted by Prof. Mateo who teaches us additional Math in Wau campus and the form was facilitated by NWP Ex. director , Martha and father Michael founder of the university, may God rest his soul in peace. Now I had the university form which I filled and was ready to submit to university in time, so here I must come to south Sudan. But the big problem was I had no money for Transport, I was asking myself where can I get money to get to south as quick as possible? I was worried I will miss the chance if I come late, my father had no cows to sell and give me money for transport. I went to Eree to inform my father of my coming to south so that if we may get money some where to help me come, but I got he was call to report to Jigeba (military barrack) 10 hours footing. Little bit I went to kauda and I checked my email and found NWP transport support by Martha to be received from Sr. Cathy, there I was very happy, I went to her and received the money.
Journey to Attend University in Wau, South Sudan
Now the journey began on 15 th May from Eree to Kauda to processed travel permit to Yida camp, reaching yida, I processed refuge travel permit (migration) to south and waiting for flight. I stayed for almost two weeks.
I reached juba and I went to submit the form before two days deadline. I was called for certificate verification and interviews, they got my certificate is from Khartoum, they request me go to Khartoum and get foreign affairs stamp. I refused and went to the vice-chancellor, Father Matthew Pagan, I narrated to him this story, he took my certificate and we went to the administration and told them this boy is from Nuba and we need help him. So here I was accepted and went for interviews and I passed the interviews and waiting for Wau.
In south Sudan -Juba before I left for wau, I witnessed another experiences caused by the tribal violence on 6 th July, I and my friends fled to the bush and stayed for a number of days eating on dried loaves we carried along with us, we do sleep under big trees our days and nights, That was the worst and crazy conflicts I ever met in life since I was young, No defined direction for the enemy only our God knows, all direction gunshots no safe place to go, we got stuck no where to think will be safe for us, we prayed to God to protect us and our properties and in fact everything went on well and our lives and properties were safe. Many people died that time. We had no network to write to you until when the situation was a bit calm, I came and shift to a new place in town with some of my friends where Prof. Mateo came and met me. This is where I was able to write an email to Martha explaining what happened. And here my money given by Martha from Nuba got finished, Again she sent me money in Juba for transport to Wau.
Dangers in Wau
Before reaching Wau in August, I was told of the insecurities, but I must come because of studies, when I came to Wau, I met a friend who lived in Sophia’s home we both stayed there, no sounds of neighbors, people are quiet, Anyway we stayed and we couldn’t make noise so that they should not know there are people living here! gunshots, stealing, deaths are going on at night . At that time Sophia who works for UN and her children all were in Khartoum, no one in the home only us,
At midday we could go to the market and buy for us some food and come back early before sunset and stay in the house, we continued until Sophia came back from Khartoum and by then she lives in UNIMISS camp, when situations were a bit good, we do visit catholic university-wau to make sure the process are complete and know when to start, but because of insecurity the university was not ready and we had to wait for one full month until October to start, NWP, Ex. Director, Martha Riley came and send me money through Sophia account in wau, we bought food in the house to avoid rampant movement .
Time came I started University, already tuitions were paid by Martha and my academic requirements were ready right Juba, so no problem here, though the insecurity was relatively improving, night gunshots never stopped, disturbing our academics, causing fear in all our long nights , hearing killing cases, raping, kidnapping, stealing day and night over radios, many people fled to church centers and UNMISS camp for protections. Situations became worst but to me was common thing which I went through since I was young, but I was afraid here because the enemy is unknown, I do pray and sleep and prayers from Martha and her Board protected me until the first semester finished, but still I was not comfortable in the place where I was with the friend and on the holidays I thought of a new place and I went to live there. It was a bit calm.
Second semester came and all tuitions were paid, but again new incidents arose, things went apart, I lost hope, no random movement, university closed down for two weeks, everything became bored, some lecturers robbed and some students from bar-el ghazal university killed and others from catholic university were lucky and escaped death In the areas where conflicts started, my friend who I stayed with before was robbed and beaten. Things became complicated. I went to hid in the house, though our area was calm, I was thinking of our university will get closed forever because it is located in that conflicted area and we don’t pass-by there easily during problems, it was hard.
Food items getting very expensive, water, tea, everything in the market it’s prices changed. When the situation calmed, we went back to university to pursue lectures though the area was still full of fear we do go for the sake of not missing the lectures, but the worst thing lecturers didn’t turned up and Arabic lecturers not teaching us properly, lacking English. Here things were not right, I said to myself conflicts cannot stop happening and I’m not afraid of conflicts but the main issue that brought me here is studies! I can survive conflict but about studies? All the time we go to university campus no lectures, no lecturers, other lecturers claimed that the courses are done when nothing was taught, here I doubted and I said this is wasting money without any gain, immediately i started thinking of proposal to other neighboring countries, like Kampala for better studies of which it was second by Martha, Ex. Director, NWP.
Change in Plans – Travel to Kampala Uganda to Find a Functioning University
In late May, the journey started from Wau to Juba again where I stayed for two weeks processing travelling document, now thinking of coming to Kampala, again incidents on Kampala road happened before two days to had begin my journey. So it became hard, already I had a ticket in hand and cannot be cancelled.
Martha, because of her care and concerns knew this, She immediately wrote to me to wait for awhile because the road wasn’t safe, but there was no way to cancel the ticket, so it was hard and I was completely afraid for the first time I felt a big fear and shaking, but I stopped doubt and prayed and send Martha a message and her team to continue praying for me too and we forget thinking of the enemy. On the way coming, we were escort with 3 military cruisers full of soldiers and one Tank 55. While moving in a convey, we saw damaged villages, schools, cars, ………,along the road side, no people living around, this again caused a severe fear and I could not eat the foods I bought with me, after we reached the border of Uganda (Nimule) the convoy had to leave us and take those going to south Sudan, Therefore here I was relieved and some food appetite arose. Through our prayers the journey was successful and I reached Kampala at 10:00 night, my phone went off, I could not call a friend to meet me, I slept on the park on the passengers seats till morning while charging my phone.
In the morning I called a friend, he came and together we reached where we now both stay and I called Mary that I’m now in Kampala and I now stay with a friend. For a while I received money from Martha, which provided my feeding, accommodations, and running university process……
Coming now to University process in Kampala, it was very hard and another headache.
I went to S.t Augustine International University, they refuse and gave me the following conditions to join their university.
They said I should be senior six leaver or diploma holder or join their A-level (high school 5 and 6) for two years and later be admitted, Here I refused, because senior 5 & 6 is the same senior three in Sudan and already I did it.
I went to Uganda Martyrs University, they gave me the following procedures.
First, Translate my Arabic certificate to English from Makerere Institute of languages and communications (it was translated here) and I went to Sudan Embassy for certification, from here I was directed to UNEB (Uganda National Examination Board) and a lawyer (commissioner of oaths) was needed to stand that the certificate is authentic and not forged, this is where my certificate was equated and directly referred to Uganda Martyrs University, a Catholic institution, where I applied now and waiting their call for admission.
BELIEVE ME, I WOULDN’T HAVE MADE IT ALONE WITHOUT YOUR DEFENSIVE AND SPIRTTUAL EFFORTS. IT WAS NOT EASY UP TO THIS LEVEL!
LASTLY, I’m thankful of Martha’s Leadership, Administration, her team and content with NWP Education Support and prayers to where I’m now today.
Thanks for reading,
Angelo was admitted into Martyrs University on August 10, 2017 to pursue a Bachelor in Agriculture. He started classes on Monday, August 21st.