Part I: Living in Sudan:- the past.

August 3, 2006 at 11:50 am Leave a comment

I do not claim to be overly religious (if there is a phrase like that); I listen to “akisema atakubariki and kuna dawa“(no not in the bar!) I do say my prayers and go to church every now and then. But Living in Sudan I cannot help but look for the all-loving and ever-caring God I used to pray to in the village church when I was a little girl. Does he/she not listen to prayers from this side? Do the prayers not reach there-wherever there is? I realize that I may be applying my own standards to judge the conditions, but there are universal human needs and they are not fulfilled here. How could so much be so wrong in one place? How can the world allow people to live in mud huts, walk naked/semi naked, hungry and frightened of bombs and homeless in the 21st Century? Why weren’t there more people angry about the situation? Where was the UN, the AU? Where indeed was God?

For some time now I have been saying/promising that I will blog about my side of the world. This means Southern Sudan- Not north or Darfur where the parallels between what led to the 20-year war in the south and what is happening there are disturbingly similar. It’s difficult to decide where to start. SS is a country full of resources, in Africa it is only rivalled by DRC. And I guess that is the major source of the conflict, The North want what the south have and that is the reason why even after the 6 years elapse, the south will vote to secede and the north will not accept that, because it will mean loss of control over these riches. Gold, oil, animals and ofcurse the people are all to be found here not to mention the Nile (lets not even start on Egypt) The maddening thing is that none of this resources have been used on the people. Most families eat one meal a day if they are lucky to have had World Food Program drop food in the area. It is not that people are lazy, but the weather is tooo harsh. Temperatures can get to a stifling 45 degrees. The rains come once a year, (And Egypt has taken the Nile!!!) in the form of floods.

When I first came to SS about four year ago, I was in shock for about a whole year. We used to barter for food; a goat would be exchanged for a bar of panga soap and maybe one or two packets of salt. Most of our food came from Kenya (by plane of course). It was in Sudan that I learned that there was tinned githeri, carrots, and dried sukuma wiki. Money simply had no value because there was nothing to buy. We paid salaries in the form of second hand clothes, salt and Soap. By now am sure you have guessed that salt and soap were the most precious commodities. I will not even begin to describe my reaction when I was shown my mud hut. All I was thinking was “Damn I need a raise” Don’t get me started on the creepy crawlies, spiders, scorpions,lizards,snakes
I swear this is a true story, my colleague was coming from the bathroom one evening, happily whistling away, sans clothes, only to get to his Tukul (mud hut) and find a snake inside. I tell you I have never seen a man jump so high. Within seconds he was on top of a chair” I have the photo but he made me swear never to show it to anyone.

Prior to the CPA, I had not gone to any “town” with a tarmac road, Permanent constructions, telecommunication, public transport, schools and many of the things I used to take for granted. All public social amenities are managed by NGO’s. Its not that the people of SS are not able to manage them, but it’s hard to do that when you are running for your life, isn’t it?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad, Living among the Dinka people is one of the most pleasurable experiences anyone can ever have. Maybe its because they are so unspoilt. They have no issues of jealousy or envy. And they are 100% honest. They do not ever talk behind your back, if you annoy them trust me they will tell you to your face. (Participants at a workshop refused to attend a session because the facilitator had the “wrong approach”) You know those anonymous evaluations that are done in workshops? None of that here they will tell you to your face. And if they like you, they will immediately give you a Dinka name.

You would think that with all the poverty and hunger people would be falling over themselves to leave SS, but are they? Will be talking about the present on the next episode.

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At what point does a friend become a liability? Hilarious

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