Just before 9/11 I was ministering in music at an International Church in North Minneapolis. When I finished, this tall black man from the back row simply walks up to me and says, “My people need you” after that Stephen Khor Chambang and I became instant friends and we began to see how I could use my influence and resources of my company to help these war-torn people of South Sudan.
We proceeded by counseling groups of Nuer refugee former soldiers - now the seed of developing political leaders of South Sudan including the Vice President Dr. Riek Machar, hosting meetings in our business offices and traveling to Ames Iowa, and Omaha Nebraska in their initial years of coming to the US.
I hired and taught Stephen how to solder and build our custom lighting at Xtra Lite Displays. He brought our Xtra Lite Display back to his home of Maker, South Sudan for a regional rally during the ongoing war there.
“I met Les LaMotte in Upper Nile, South Sudan in 2010 when he was working on Urban Planning for the city of Malakal. As Director for the Administration in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Rural Development and worked closely with him on the same project. He is a down to earth trustworthy fellow who has great sense of humor. He is smart, a team player and above all a good friend to the people of South Sudan for the last two decades.”
– Reat Nhial Tuany, South Sudanese/American, Rochester NY
Together Stephen and I have planned and met in Addis Ababa, Gambella, and Matar Ethiopia as well as Maker his home village in 2009. In 2010, I was invited to work in Malakal, the capital city of the Upper Nile State of South Sudan for several months as an Urban Planner. In Matar Ethiopia, his mother Elizabeth and her three daughters had taken on eighty-nine children that they rescued from the last uprising in South Sudan on December 15th, 2013 when 20,000 Nuer South Sudanese were killed in the streets of their capital city of Juba by their own government. Months following that they attacked and killed 500,000 in a northern village near the oil wells and caused approximately four-thousand refugee children to pour through the Matar area. We have struggled to try to send a few dollars each month to keep them all alive to buy seed, medical supplies, and other living expenses. They have not had a roof over their head for about 5 years as the house that Stephen built for his family, one of the best in the village at the time simply fell apart as most stick houses do and must be rebuilt, however, we have not been able to find the funds to build them a new home for these children. The result is many coming down sick with malaria because they don’t have any protection from the mosquitos in the summer wet season. We have a huge farmland of over 250 acres of tillable land by the river but, we need to buy seed and it must be planted by hand by his family with very few crude tools. We have twenty-five head of cattle but, they are not enough to provide the amount of milk needed for the children. Would you please give these 89 children a hope for a future? Please support our work in Matar and Gambella Ethiopia where there is about 750,000 South Sudanese that have come for refuge for over twenty-five years. Give us the ability to go and bring structure, leadership, and incubate many new business opportunities to help them become the best that they can be. EastAfricaComDev.org
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First Release © 2018 Les LaMotte • All rights reserved • Fall 2018