It is a beautiful sunny morning with clear blue skies. A different day compared to the heavy rains and storm that hit Bor town only a few days ago.
The rains caused flooding at Imperial High School, a school in the Jonglei region of South Sudan, forcing it to temporarily close and interrupting examinations for 380 students.
Two modest structures made from corrugated iron which house classes for Senior 1 to Senior 4 students were submerged in water making it impossible for the students to sit the remaining seven exams.
The UN Mission’s field office in Bor responded swiftly to an urgent request from local authorities and the school to help deal with the aftermath of the devastating floods by providing soil to raise the surface of the ground that the students can go back to school and finish their exams.
“When the school got flooded we got frustrated; we were discouraged. We had nowhere to go,” said twenty-one-year old Arok Gabriel, a Senior 4 student at Imperial High School.
“If the school collapsed we would have no place to study for the whole year, so we are very thankful for the great support that UNMISS’ has given us,” he added.
It took peacekeepers from the Republic of Korea Horizontal Military Engineering Company (ROK-HMEC) only a day after receiving the request for support to excavate six truckloads of soil, working tirelessly on a weekend to help restore the flooded plains.
It was a joint effort between UNMISS and the local community as people came out with wheelbarrows, rakes and shovels to help spread the dirt across the school grounds.
“This is a clear sign of good relations between UNMISS and the civil population,” said the Governor of Jonglei, Philip Aguer Panyang. “They saw the challenges that are facing this community and responded quickly at a needy time.”
The Head of the UNMISS field Office in Bor, Deborah Schein, said that all efforts put in to assist the school “were worth it”.
“It is always worth it when you are trying to promote education; that is why we are here. We are here to support the people of South Sudan. We are here to support a lasting peace in South Sudan.”
“Education,” she added, “is the foundation for the future of South Sudan.”