Sr. Pollicarp Amiyo, a Comboni sister working in the Nuba Mountain in South Sudan. She tell us her experience.
I was born in Karamoja (Uganda) in 1983 in a small town called Kangole. I received all my education in Karamoja. I studied in Matany School of Nursing and Midwifery. From childhood, I had the desire to serve others.
I was inspired by the work of the Comboni Sisters who have been in Karamoja for 54 years. They have shown a great commitment to the service of the most poor. Their faithful presence in Karamoja, a land that not many people could admire to live in, has shown my people the great love God has for us.
In 2011, I was accepted to start my journey of formation. I had time of discernment and preparation, learning what it meant to be a Comboni sister and to commit my life to the mission.
In 2015, I made my first vows in Namugongo; it was a joyful day since from that day, I was a Comboni Sister, a consecrated woman ready to give my life for the most poor and abandoned. Soon after, I was sent to South Sudan, specifically to the Nuba Mountains. History says that the Nuba were the real people of Sudan but when the Arabs entered in the region, they had to escape up the mountains, which carne to be known as Nuba Mountains.
When Sudan was thorned by war with the people of the South looking for independence, the Nubas played a key role helping the former South Sudan rebel forces gain sovereignty. But nothing changed in the Nuba Mountains – unfulfilled promises of autonomy and suspected rigged local elections triggered renewed fighting between the Sudan government and the Nuba rebels.
This is a land of first evangelization and with many necessities in all areas. There is scarcity of food and medical services and schools have not been going on for a long time. There is only one presence that has been constant, namely, the presence of the Combori Sisters in the hospital of the mission. Being a nurse, I was appointed to work in the hospital.
Before departing, I was informed of all the difficulties I was going to face: the war, the hunger, lack of market or network and the hardship of the land. But I was not afraid; I knew that the mission among Nuba was going to be my first love. I only needed to reach the mission and give myself. The first three months in my mission were maybe the most challenging I have
ever experienced. The first month was calm and peaceful, but I knew that relatively,
peace would not last. The second was far different, I started learning to listen to
the movements of Antonovs and Jets. People feared the government would start
attacking by air. I remember cleaning the foxholes to use as safety place in case of air strikes; it was scaring. On the third month, things became really hard. We were constantly bombed.
The images of running, bombing and hearing the big machine guns were always in my mind. There wasn’t a place for safety besides the holes. Many times, I have run out of the chapel for safety to dive into the foxholes. Then something happened to me. I reached a point, which we could call the “test of faith”. Because of fear, I got an extra beat in my heart and my legs got swollen. I was really scared and knew I needed to go out for some time to have a medical check-up in Nairobi. The medical result showed that although I was healthy, I was under stress. I was advised to stay in Nairobi for a while to calm myself.
After some time, I recovered and went back to my mission. Till today, I am in the Nuba Mountains. I thank God for allowing me to be among the Nuba people, sharing my faith with them. I continue working in the hospital and I give a hand in the parish with the youth and the children.
The mission is tough; sometimes I see many heart-breaking realities and find myself helpless, crying to God and asking Him why He brought me to the Nuba. Then He shows me his mercy and love towards those who suffer. I don’t regret that I was sent to this mission, I have come to learn that God calls and He goes ahead, in Him is my strength.