A letter from… Uror, South Sudan
Claudia Puschner surveys smiles in South Sudan
“Look at these faces,” I thought, when I arrived in Uror county, South Sudan, last year. “These children are smiling from ear to ear! Yet, you look around them and see that they live in one of the harshest places in the world.” They had no toys, few clothes, bare feet, hardly any food and very little water. They were warm and cheeky and appeared to be happy.
That was last year. But what a difference a year makes – today, South Sudan, the newest country in the world, is in the grips of a violent conflict between the government and the opposition, forcing people to flee their homes. Many are sick and hungry with no peace in sight.
What this means for the children of Uror is that the little they had before, they now have to share with those who have even less. It means that the 11-year-old sister has to go without food today so that her younger, weaker brother, can eat. It means that malnourished children are being carried by their older siblings, often not much healthier and older themselves, for hours at a time, as they walk to reach one of Tearfund’s six feeding centres in the county. Sometimes the mother, who may have several children to look after, is unable to make the long journey…
Claudia Puschner is Tearfund’s programme officer for South Sudan. To support and/ or find out more about her work, visit www.tearfund.org/southsudan
This is an extract from the October 2014 edition of Reform.