Being and working with is a deep-felt, fundamental aspect of CUAMM’s approach. “With” is of course very different from “for”; it means sharing values, being deeply committed to what you’re doing, walking directly alongside your partners, never taking a top-down approach but instead toiling side by side, coping together with the problems that come up every day. It can be wearying, and sometimes very difficult. Oftentimes you have to learn to put aside your know-how and ego. You need plenty of patience, but most of all the ability to listen, and humility.
«Thank you, Dr. Giovanni, for teaching us how to serve as an example to others. I learned the same values from Valerio, the only country manager who stayed on with us during the crisis, traveling by ground to every part of South Sudan. I feel the same feeling of gratitude for Chiara and Don Dante. You’ve given me the courage to work here, in a place filled with Kediba rebels and their enemies. Glory and honor to you, God bless you!».
The author of this note is Paul O. Abiodun, a Nigerian citizen and head of CUAMM’s activities in South Sudan’s Mundri East county. Earning the trust of your staff is one of the most gratifying feelings you can experience; it means you’re moving ahead in the right direction. So we’re happy to share another message of thanks, this time from a local authority, John Chol, a South Sudanese citizen and member of the health office in Central Rumbek:
«These photos should be sent to all the NGOs working here who claim they’re helping the South Sudanese people to improve their lives. That way they could see with their own eyes and understand that the spirit of brotherhood and change isn’t just about what you say. You have to do things from the heart, show your commitment through actual deeds, if you want people to believe in you. Blessed be those who risk their own lives to do what they’ve written they would in their projects. Long live CUAMM in South Sudan, long live CUAMM’s Dr. Valerio, long live Dr. Giovanni, long live all of CUAMM’s country managers!»
This is the kind of message that gives us the strength and will to carry on. That’s what we hear from Dr. Dall’Oglio, who has extensive experience implementing public health projects in Africa in some of the most isolated, difficult places imaginable. He travels to small villages to meet the communities living there, train local health workers, and ensure that work is being carried out properly. He has sent us these photos of the difficult journey one must take to get from Yirol to Aluakluak in South Sudan, where one can get around only by foot, bicycle or motorcycle. Yet he carries on with his work with humility and anonymity, day in and day out, as do more than 800 other health care providers working with CUAMM in Africa. Commenting on the photos, Giovanni quotes the famous remark by John Garang, the late founder of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM): “The SPLM vision, policy and slogan shall be to take the towns to people in the countryside rather than people to towns”. This is precisely how CUAMM works, moving ever deeper into Africa’s most remote areas to provide support to those most in need of it.