Photo courtesy of Martin Hay

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

South Sudan marks challenging first year - Africa - Al Jazeera English

South Sudan's first year of independence has been a roller-coaster. I arrived in South Sudan to a massacre in Jonglei State, followed by a series of retaliatory attacks between December and March - violence not seen in South Sudan since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005.

Rapid inflation ensued since trade with Sudan became more difficult and South Sudan cut off their oil pipelines. One of our staff told me that in November, $100 would cost her 250 South Sudanese Pounds (SSPs), in May it would then cost her 500 SSPs. When I left South Sudan in June, we were discussing our second pay increase in the space of 6 months for our national staff - our cluncky donor budgets couldn't seem to keep up with the rising commodity prices.

Meanwhile, no one seems outwardly concerned. It's only when you press people that they'll tell you that they're worried about the price of things, and the increasing level of violence in Juba.

Now I've left South Sudan, I wonder what is happening now. You know, the stuff you don't hear on the news and that you only find out  by walking around and talking to people. I wonder how I can stay connected with what is happening in South Sudan while letting myself move on to something new.

In the meantime, Al Jazeera is proving helpful. A recent report:
South Sudan marks challenging first year - Africa - Al Jazeera English

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