Wednesday 20 March 2019
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reliefweb - 27 days ago

South Sudan: The displaced in Wau getting ready to return home: ‘When I go home, I will do business and cultivate my own food’

Source: UN Mission in South Sudan Country: South Sudan
The UN Mission in South Sudan is finalizing preparations to repatriate more than 20 people from the Greater Upper Nile who had sought sanctuary at its base in Wau. The returnees will be flown to the capital, Juba, from where they will disperse to their respective areas of origin, which they fled when fighting broke out in 2013. “I should be alive and think about the future,” says 27-year-old Margaret Nyarach, one of the Internally displaced persons preparing to leave the camp in less than a week. The mother of one, who has been living in the camp for five years, has some fears regarding what she will find back home, though. “I am only thinking about the place I am going to if my children will go to school and I will join school,” said Margaret, adding “The only thing I think about is to go to school and other things will come later on.” Besides education, optimistic Margaret is also eager to pass a message of peace. “If I reach, there am going to meet people who are alive and those who are dead. I will tell those alive that the problem of South Sudan is over, and we should stay in peace.” Cholo Maria, Margaret’s neighbor and the camp women’s leader, is grateful for the opportunity to go back home. “I am very excited that the UN is taking me home,” says the 40-year-old mother of six, who already has a clear plan about what to do once she gets back home. “When I go home, I will do business and cultivate my own food. I will become independent and I won’t need the UN food that I lived on for almost 6 yrs,” says the Maria, who continues to show leadership even as she prepares to leave, with a message of hope to those she is leaving behind. “My message to my colleagues who are remaining behind I will say: live in peace and come in peace,” she says. Stephen Walok, another camp leader, arrived at the Wau protection site in April 2014 with his wife and six children – two daughters and four sons – and has lived in the protection camp since. “I feel happy, because my children [already left] and I remained here. I need to join them,” says the 48-year-old medical officer. “I need to join the rest of the family as well. For me, I can say I’m happy. Even anyone can see I’m happy. My children are not here, so I’m ready to leave,” he says. Stephen is from Leer County in Upper Nile’s Unity area, and is both nostalgic and momentarily sad about what has happened since the conflict began in December2013. “I miss my family – actually my parents, and the rest of my family have perished in the crisis, including my mother, my brothers, and others, including the wealth: the cattle have been taken, and the house is burnt,” says Stephen, who remains stoic despite all that has befallen him. “But I don’t mind because it’s the life of a human being that matters most,” he says, adding, “If I’m still alive, I’ll recover what I lost.” He misses his children, especially the youngest. “I want to see my children,” says Stephen. “I have a young girl who was born on the Independence Day in 2011, and she has been talking to me. I want to see her, because I have not been seeing her.” Not everyone will be leaving, though. 32-year-old Bai Bul Rach is a student at the University of Bahr el Ghazal. Because of school, he cannot leave just yet, as he still has one year to go at university. “I just wish those who’re leaving to go in peace,” he says, adding, “I may not feel unhappy because I’m rem what made me remain here, are my studies.” Married, with three children, he has been at the UN protection site since 2013, depending on the UN and humanitarian agencies. Bai’s reflection on life at the UN protection site reveals what he ultimately longs for. “You cannot compare this life with the life of your family, where you’re free to do whatever you want to do,” he says, before revealing what he appreciates most. “I would like to appreciate the NGOs and the UN for sustaining us all this time. Although it’s not like staying at home, at least the UN maintained us until we reached this time,” he says, making light of the challenges they had. “We had some challenges, but those are the minor we cannot just talk about those things. What’s important is life. UN saved our lives, and we have to appreciate what UN did.” For the children, like 16-year-old Nyachiek, leaving the camp means parting ways with the life they have grown accustomed to. “I’ll miss the camp,” says Nyachiek shyly, before saying she would like to become a doctor to help her people. Shortly after the interview in which she was utterly economical with words, we discover why: she will miss her friends whom, as we leave the camp, she is playing with as she speaks and smiles liberally.


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