Climate Change Award for Riwoto, South Sudan
Misean Cara have announced St Mary Magdalen Parish, Riwoto, South Sudan as one of the two winners of the individual Climate Action Awards! Congratulations to Fr Tim Galvin, Sr Mary and everyone at St. Mary Magdalen Parish, Riwoto. It is a fitting acknowledgement of all the work the parish are doing at community grassroots level on climate action.
“I’ve come to understand how we are so dependent on Earth, for everything, food, medicines,” says Fr. Tim Galvin, Parish Priest of St. Mary Magdalen Parish, Riwoto in South Sudan. “We are in a crisis. One night, you watch the news, the Arctic is melting. Another night you watch the news, and California is burning, Australia is burning ……”.
St. Patrick’s Missionary Society (SPS) has been working in the Diocese of Torit, South Sudan since 1983 and Fr. Tim has been working in Riwoto since 2014 having previously worked in Kenya since 1978. Riwoto is 20 km north west of Kapoeta which is the major town for the Toposa people who inhabit the area. The parish’s population is about 100,000 people, with a very high percentage of young people.
Fr. Tim and the parish community became more conscious of what they can do at a local level to mitigate the effects of climate change. The parish, through its small tree nurseries, are making tree seedlings available to people to plant in their homes. Many trees have now been planted in the parish compound including the primary school compound. The people of Riwoto experienced intense flooding from the nearby Singaita River. Fr. Tim says “Trees would be a help to stop the water from destroying gardens and homes and people’s livelihood”. The parish is also promoting the growing of a variety of vegetables locally. As there is a long dry season a drip irrigation system has been introduced.
The 21st of September 2020 saw the launch of St. Mary Magdalen Garden at the parish primary school. Earlier in the year, the head teacher, Sr. Mary created a space at the entrance to the school where the following were planted: thorn trees which provide shade, neem trees have many uses, paw paw trees provide food, three different species of local trees, tamarind, nadapal, nyeronit all provide food, moringo trees whose leaves can be eaten as vegetables and is also medicinal, aloe vera, another Toposa plant called etula which the people use to treat malaria and black jack whose leaves are used to heal a cut and ginger. Flowers were also planted which hopefully will attract bees and butterflies to add to the biodiversity. A green house was set up some years ago which means a constant good supply of green vegetables are available.
We wish the project continued success.