Shattered Sudan | Drilling for Oil, Hoping for Peace, National Geographic: Starving Dinka Girl in Juba Garrison Town | South Sudan

Starving Dinka Girl in Juba Garrison Town | South Sudan

A starving Dinka girl came to the garrison town of Juba as a last resort. Still living in fear, she hides with her family on this island in the middle of the Nile. She hopes to escape harassment by the northern government of Sudan.

From my journal:

This is my last day… the light is bad… what else is new…

I’m sitting in this UN truck and 4300 women are dividing up 286 metric tons of wheat that just dropped from the air on this dusty landing strip.  There are men with sticks beating back the crowds.  I tried to help an old woman lift a 50K bag onto her head.  I couldn’t lift it without her help—and she has a 2 day walk back to her village in the blazing sun.  And yet these people are happy—and so polite—maybe if they were angrier and uglier about their situation we would know about them.  Or… maybe if they just had wealthy relatives in the US.

Often the mechanics of photography insulate you from what you are actually seeing.  The plane will land in an hour and I will start staging out of Africa –from here to Loki, to Nairobi, to Amsterdam to the states.  I am not going to miss this place, but I am in awe of it—4300 women stretched across the horizon arranged in rows according to village—each row kept 200 meters away from the distribution point.  They are all just quietly waiting in the hot sun.  So many people—Just January of last year more people than this lay dead in the battlefields encircling this airstrip. 

WFP gave me a huge trunk for a pillow, two sheets and some kind of fluorescent light—typical government work kind of project.  We are packing this worthless trunk (that they then try to charge me by the kilo for…) pack my tent and get ready for the cargo plane.

The very day I flew out of Ruweng County, Khartoum flight denied the entire western upper Nile.  No one will get back in there for a long time.  The pilots for the MIGS they just bought are being trained and they are patrolling further with the 20 gun ships to harass flights that are non-OLS—the SPLA sympathizer/gun runners like the folks who got me in here.

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