FROM THE FIELD

Kevin, our partner in Sudan

Kevin Massie

We’ve introduced you to Kevin Massie before – he is one of our local partners in Sudan who works at the New Life Orphanage in Nyamlel. We wanted to take this opportunity to tell you more of his story. We are so thankful for all of you who contribute to our Sudan projects and for Kevin who helps facilitate the funding on the ground.

When Kevin Massie (pictured in front of Girls Dormitory in Nyamlel), a 2003 civil engineering graduate, first heard about the war in Southern Sudan, he was a freshman at Virginia Tech. He recalls how hard it was for him to comprehend that “more than two million people died in the last two decades of a 50-year war and the media rarely covered these senseless deaths. “I was gripped with compassion for the Sudanese people and I wondered what I could do to change this,” he said. This compassion burned in Massie’s heart for six years when he learned of Make Way Partners, a Christian mission agency committed to prevent and combat human trafficking and all forms of modern day slavery.

Make Way Partners has an orphanage of 400 children on the border of Darfur and Southern Sudan. Some of the orphans are from the South and some are from Darfur. “They all share a horrible common denominator. They have all either watched the murder of their parents, witnessed the rape of their mothers and/or suffered rape and persecution themselves,” Massie explained.

On a two-week trip to Sudan with Make Way Partners, Massie encountered more stories that continued to tug at his soul. While working in the start-up medical clinic, he says he overheard a volunteer doctor examining a seven-year-old girl. He learned that the girl had woken up in the middle of the night crying loudly and could not be consoled. The mother was desperate for help, as she could not offer comfort to her child. The examination was difficult for both patient and doctor, but it was clear the girl suffered from sexual assault. “Most of the women in this village have been sex slaves or were violently abused during attacks by the Janjaweed, the name for the Muslim militia. This mother’s personal trauma left her incapable of effectively touching her daughter’s trauma,” Massie said.

As Massie continued his work in the clinic those first two weeks, he couldn’t escape the hopelessness in this young mother’s voice. “I slowly realized the hope necessary to combat such cruelty comes when individuals slow down and choose to care about the needs around them,” he said.

Recently, Massie joined the full-time staff of Make Way Partners as a project manager, where he puts his engineering background to work offering that hope. He helped complete a dormitory that safely houses 200 young orphaned girls who previously slept in trees to avoid attacks by hyenas and dogs. The girls are particularly thankful because the dormitory protects them from being captured or sold as sex slaves. In 2008, Massie will return to Sudan to work on a similar building for 200 boys who eagerly wait for the time they can sleep in a bed instead of trees. Massie credits “the same principles of community that strengthen Virginia Tech” as preparation for him to serve in Sudan. “The spirit of service evident at Virginia Tech guided me to apply my education to serve in one of the darkest places the world has ever known. And now, by carrying that spirit to the children of Sudan, I hope to help offer a new hope of peace through service.”

[Article from: Virginia Tech Civil and Environmental Engineering Alumni News 2008]

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