By Cordell Whitlock
(KSDK) - A Creve Coeur woman is back from the trip of a lifetime: a journey that took her to Africa. Deborah Goldfeder arrived in the Sudan just days after a civil war had ended.
Her story is one of sadness and hope. Deborah went to the Sudan on behalf of the Episcopal church on a mission. Once she stepped off the plane, Deborah knew she was far from home.
It took well over 24 hours for Goldfeder to arrive in Lui, Sudan, in the southern part of the country. When the plane door opened a shooting victim was dying on the air strip.
"I got off the airplane and saw the bleeding man in the ambulance and people were saying, 'Come, get in the vehicle. We're leaving.'"
When Deborah arrived at her hut, she quickly realized her location put her in the middle of a civil war between two neighboring tribes.
"I stayed awake that first night listening to gunshots and wondering what was going to happen," said Goldfeder.
Deborah worked as a nurse in the local hospital, and taught religion. She also managed to teach women in her village how to sew. There were no roads, running water or electricity, but the Sudanese were eager to learn.
Goldfeder said, "The one thing they will ask you for over and over again is please give me an education. Even though they are hungry and don't have water they will ask you for an education."
Deborah says the Sudanese taught her about community and hospitality. She says the warmth and compassion her neighbors showed in the face of so much adversity was an eye opener.
She said, "I didn't sleep well and I decided to take a nap and the whole community thought that I was sick. They kept coming, saying how are you feeling? Are you okay?"
Goldfeder was several thousand miles away from Darfur, where reports of genocide are being investigated by the United Nations. She would like to return to Lui to reconnect with the friends she made.