Today we stand at another threshold. Together we look out into the murky future of a country seemingly dedicated to destroying itself. Those who can have left, by the millions. Others would like to leave but are stuck moving from one place to another in hopes of avoiding the next outbreak of violence. However, for many, when the going gets tough, well you know how the saying goes.
I’m used to crying whenever my plane takes off from Yei South Sudan with emotions and thoughts whirling around my head and heart- I’m used to it now. I mean these are my people, my friends. They have suffered for years, most from the day they were born, through agonizing war, unspeakable atrocities, and middle of the night deaths of children, parents and friends. A good week is a week where a meal is eaten once daily. A good year, where enough funds were available for everyone to attend school, whether under a mango tree or a scorching hot corrugated roof.
The heat comes in waves and the dust never seems to go away as we stand next to a well that has been broken for TWO YEARS. I notice Florence near by and ask if we can talk to her. Florence turns out to be smart, gregarious, resilient and a just a bit ticked off.
You see she has given up the opportunities that a 25 year old South Sudanese refugee has in neighboring Uganda to come home and care for her widowed mother and all of the children of both of her two dead brothers. To add misery-to-misery she is now trekking more than a mile away to the polluted Yei River for water to keep everyone alive…after she boils the water of course.