People Choosing Peace: Nadia (South Sudan)

By Ochan Hannington

My name is Nadia. I am 28 years old, and I have experienced, and can testify, that South Sudanese people are friendly in nature. I’m aware people all over the world may hardly believe me, especially when they hear about the conflict ravaging my country.

I care a lot about the well-being of others, especially my fellow Juba residents. It breaks my heart when I see and hear reports of citizens leaving in such huge numbers to neighboring countries, due to the insecurity that has blanketed our country.

I told myself in the past that despite the fact that the economic situation in the country continued to hurt, I would always stay – that I would do whatever I can to preserve the social cohesiveness that defines us, beginning in my neighborhood. I hoped someday peace will come.

But my efforts continue to be undermined by the violent conflict that broke out again in 2013. It has engulfed, and spread uncontrollably to, almost all the rest of the country. Sometimes my hopes are devastated by the current situation!

The devastation created by the conflict, and by famine, is real in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, as well as other areas. Most people in my neighborhood cannot afford to have enough to eat. I feel so awful seeing people die from hunger.

Every day brings new struggles. Until two weeks ago, I had a job, which guaranteed me a monthly income – and with that little salary I received I was able to buy some food for my family and myself. Most of my neighbors have not been as lucky as me - they have hardly had any source of regular income. They cannot afford to put food on their table. On several occasions I have given a helping hand. But unfortunately, I am just one person and cannot do much. Now that am out of work the situation is worse, as I can hardly help anymore.

This helplessness makes me wish to leave this country altogether, to struggle with hunger. I feel I am caught between two situations that are beyond my control.