Two weeks before the trip to South Sudan, I went to see the movie “Beats of the Antonov”. The movie described how the people living in the bush in South Sudan were coping with Russian Antonov planes sent by North Sudan to bomb them, through music, laughter & resilience. When I later spoke to the director of the movie I told him that I was going to Juba as a volunteer, and did he have any advice for me? He said: “Stay away from politicians & hang out with the people”. I had some of anticipation anxiety before going on this trip, the kind we have when going to an unfamiliar place. Between the shots and the pills I had to take before the trip, and what the website of the State department says about South Sudan, I was prepared to have a rough experience there.
While in South Sudan, we got to interact and work with every body on the gamut, psychiatric patients & staff, politicians and clergy men, very wealthy people and dirt poor folk. One morning we got to visit with a wealthy local business man who suffered early health consequences of stress, and was consulted by his niece Dr. Atong to learn about ‘Coherent Breathing’. While being interrupted frequently by his cell phone, and his assitants Dr. Brown was taught him Coherent Breathing and I was playing the chimes music on the blue tooth connected speaker I got on my way to Laguardia airport, which went with me everywhere including the bush in Aweil.
The most unsafe I felt in Sudan Sudan was the we slept in simple rooms in the bush in Aweil, I forgot to put the net over my bed down, and as soon as I turned off the light, I felt something landing on my foot. When I turned the light on it was the biggest blackest bug I’ve ever seen before. It didn’t sting, it didn’t move, it just stay on me. I freaked out when I realized that there was a whole family there, and ran out of the room, deciding to sit under the full moon and listen to music until morning. I breathed love into my fear & compassion for my embarrassment about my unmanly reaction -:), and felt pretty safe until an hour later, when I heard the howling of something that sounded like a cross between hungry dogs & vicious Jackals. I started to shake out my fear and after a couple of minutes, when I weighed my choice between spending the rest of the night with big bugs or with hungry jackals – I naturally chose the bugs. Curiously when I returned to the room and put down the net, I slept like a baby for the rest of the night, and didn’t think about the harmless bugs.
On the forth of July we were invited to the American embassy in Juba for dinner & celebration. After a very thorough security check I felt like fleeing the place, thinking of what a target this must be for terror. We sat at a table surrounded by diplomats and the NGO community in Juba. As I was talking to a Belgian who was working for a European NGO, he said to me in French – “on sais jamais” – one never know. I immediately started to open my heart & breathe with ease. That much – I know!
Shake like a hummingbird & awake…. (shake out your fears, anxieties & worries and replace them with breathing with ease….)
Samuel Jakob Kirschner, Voice of The BREAZE