May We Continue to Pursue Peace.
*The views expressed in this blog do not represent the views of MSF*
This past Saturday marked the 5 year anniversary of South Sudan; the newest country in the world. As I climbed up the narrow and tenuously uneven steps to the water tower, the sun was already heavy in the sky, painting every surface in its honey-tinted glow. It was my plan to observe the 40+ speeches that would be made that night from a safe distance where I couldn’t be called upon to speak. After the speeches commenced and the slaughtered goats and Ugali paste had been consumed, there began a series of coordinated dances led by the women. Their dresses put my dirt-caked, no frills clothes to shame. Soon the ground was covered in color as the women’s gowns rose and fell with the steady beat of the music. After the women had carried their message throughout the compound with their yelps, undulations and mini sandstorm of dust, a man entered the circle waving the MSF flag. As the sun set over Agok, I had a bird’s eye view of something quite beautiful. These compound-wide parties are truly special. They offer a rare opportunity for the 400+ staff employed by MSF, to don their nicest clothes, come together, let go of stress and celebrate. Together, we celebrate what it means to be alive, to be living and working together; one team made up of many nations. Although our backgrounds are very different, we are-brought together by our shared experience of living in Agok and of caring for and serving our patients. Together, we celebrate the newest country in the world. It is an atmosphere pregnant with hopes, longings and anticipation; all finely balanced upon a fragility, which speaks of defeat, loss and the exhaustion that comes with being resigned to a life of war.
As hips shake, arms wave through the air and feet unearth dust in Agok, tensions in the capitol city of Juba begin to rise. At almost the very moment that we are celebrating the birth of this nation, war is again knocking at the front door, waiting for an invitation to enter. We wake the next morning, still groggy from the previous night’s celebration, only to find that the Peace Treaty has been broken. War is again upon this fragile nation. I join my brothers and sisters here in their prayers for peace. May we not grow weary and lose our hope in humanity. May we continue in our pursuit of peace.