Rumbek Day

On Friday 26th October, the students and staff here at Loreto College Cavan were privileged and delighted to welcome two very important visitors - Sr. Orla Tracey and Sr. Penina from our sister’s school, Loreto Rumbek, in South Sudan. To celebrate their visit, we decided to hold our annual Rumbek Day on that date. The school community was bursting with joy and spirits were flying high as everyone dressed up in the vibrant colours of the Rumbek flag to raise funds for Loreto Rumbek.

 

Members of the student council and the green schools’ committee greeted the sisters on their arrival and were given an opportunity to begin the day by asking them some questions about what life was like in South Sudan and about some of the daily challenges that they faced. Sister Orla and Sister Penina described the high levels of hunger the young people in South Sudan continue to suffer from. Loreto Rumbek works tirelessly to provide three meals everyday to each of their students, but it is a common occurrence that the girls return to school after the weekend with acute stomach aches because they have had nothing to eat since their last meal before they left the school compound on Friday. They also informed us that the two euro each student here in Loreto Cavan is asked to donate annually goes towards funding 4 meals.

After the morning coffee and chat, the two ladies visited a number of different class groups and spoke to students about daily life in Loreto Rumbek. Sister Penina shared a poignant story to a group of sixth year students about a young woman who is currently seeking refuge in the Loreto Rumbek compound. Her family were forcing her to marry a man nearly 40 years her senior in return for a large number of cows. If the marriage had been successful, she would have succeeded in being his twelfth wife! But instead, she risked her life by running away from home with a desire to get an education. What the students found most shocking about this story was how often incidents like this occur, and that this young girl is one of many. The women of South Sudan have no status, importance or rights. They are sold off to men by their fathers’ and brothers’, and their sole role in society is to give birth to numerous children.

Some of the senior students accompanied the two sisters to the graveyard of the deceased nuns of Loreto College Cavan, located in the idyllic garden behind the school building. The serenity of the surroundings was definitely a fitting way to wind up the busy day. Before they departed, the whole school lined the avenue to bid farewell to Sr. Orla and Sr. Penina. It was a memorable day for all, and the stories and facts that were told will certainly have a lasting effect on the students and staff. We successfully raised over one thousand euro for Loreto Rumbek, however this would not have been possible without the hard work of the student council, and the fantastic support of the whole school community.
Lá iontach a bhí ann. Go raibh míle maith agaibh go léir!

Written by: Céire Flynn (Head Girl)