Life in the Dessenech Village and the war in South Sudan

Note: this was started the day of this event and the section written at home is in bold and italics.  Both are adequately stream of consciousness!

DSC01999Only a handful of kilometers from the South Sudan border there is an oven where a well decorated people raise cattle, sorgum, and wheat to meet their basic needs and for cash, they charge 25 cents to have a photo taken….

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However, when you sit down for a cold drink you see that this life of photos is also real and not just a human zoo. DSC02001 

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On our way home I became more cognizant of where I has just been.  We were with a stone aged tribe on the border with South Sudan. Were there tribal people like this on the other side of that border?  No one seemed to know. There was a war there and I was suddenly overwhelmed with a sense of helplessness, compassion, and shame. The details of how the ruthless warmongers in South Sudan rose to their positions are not relevant here.  What is relevant is my sense of despair but also that their was no palpable sense in this village that anything was wrong so few miles away. I think here they are more concerned that the tribe just north of them will raid them for their cows.

I was clearly overwhelmed at the time of writing. I sit here so far way from it now but still feel remorse when I think of the Africa Union troops rolling to the border as we headed to Addis ababa. 

I had planned on traveling to S. Sudan from Uganda until the civil war broke out in South Sudan. A friend wrote me and said it “seems like war breaks out wherever you go  to travel”. I remarked that I think  she was coming from the point of view of a person from an incredibly stable state and that instability is a rule rather than exception in the third world. At that time the war was still distant from me and just starting to sink into the consciousness of Ugandan people with friends, family, and businesses there.Now after nearly 2 months in East Africa I felt a strong bond and kinship to people here even though we are worlds apart economically and culturally. People are being killed just across this geopolitical border.  We are all related.  We are all brothers and sisters. If I could only share this feeling with everyone who has never experienced this vicinity to war.

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