SUNNYBANK parish associate pastor Sudanese-born Fr Ladu Yanga feared the worst when the phone started ringing over and over at 2am recently.
“I answered the phone … it was one of my sisters who lives in South Sudan,” he said.
“She had the very bad news that my mother had been hit by a car not far from where she lives near the main bridge at Juba.
“I was told Mum was in the Juba Teaching Hospital being treated for a broken arm and a broken leg.
“Mum was also complaining about bad neck and head pain – perhaps her head had hit the road after she was struck by the car.”
The news was doubly devastating for Fr Yanga who had successfully fought Australian Government red tape to have his mother Kolorina Martin present for his ordination at St Stephen’s Cathedral in June 2013.
His mother, in constant pain at the time from a back injury, had returned to Juba.
In early 2014, Fr Yanga was elated when his mother was flown out of war-ravaged South Sudan for medical treatment in a Ugandan hospital.
At the time she was unable to walk.
After about four months of treatment there, she returned to Juba, the country’s capital.
“Mum was doing really well and could walk after the treatment in Uganda,” Fr Yanga said.
“When she was hit by the car she was walking back from a brother-in-law’s funeral a few kilometres away.
“Now she’s pretty much back to where she was before the treatment in Uganda.”
When Fr Yanga spoke with Mrs Martin on January 19, she had been discharged from hospital and was staying with her brother-in-law.
“Mum was let out of hospital because there wasn’t much else they could do for her,” he said.
“Hospitals there have very little in the way of equipment or expertise.
“In South Sudan you can take years to get back on your feet after a bad accident.”
The priest’s hope is now that his mother can once again be flown to Uganda for medical treatment.
“We’re hoping this happens on Wednesday, January 28,” he said.
“It’s a very anxious time for us all and we would appreciate the prayers of the archdiocese for Mum.”