A letter to future generations [4]

By Ngor Khot Garang

Little ones, am a weak human. Not my fault. I didn’t choose this life. Maybe God was wrong or else he must have done it by mistake. Where did I go wrong? Always down. I am drowning in my own tears. Why? I feel like there is no need to fight back. The blows are too heavy for a struggling young man like me. But I will never complain, maybe this is the only word on my lip.

I will rise and try. This is the only hope I have. But am telling the facts, brutal truths. This life, you won’t believe, is unfair especially for people like me who are making it from zero.

Don’t be afraid but be prepared for something bigger than yourself. That is the price you must pay for being a South Sudanese child. It is costly. Worse is the weigh that comes with it.

Everyone is fighting a battle and it is not an easy one. Others are stealing public funds. Killing is a daily business here. It is not new and most people can’t go to bed without shedding blood. The city is dirty, worse is the cheating in the market place. You meet little children not in school but begging from troubled people and sometimes they beg for a better life that they don’t get.

Here everyone has a problem including the president but money is not a problem to him. This is the life you will meet. You will come across a country robbed and irredeemably destroyed.  We are a strong people, even when we don’t have anything, we feed on hope that never comes. 

You meet people on the way and judge them without knowing their stories? How dare you? It takes strength to do that, it is courage that doesn’t work because if the world cannot give you what you want, how can a mortal human afford that. But it is all part of this life. One must eat to live to die or beg to live.  It makes no sense but it is all part of this struggle.

It is no wonder, as you live, you also wait to die someday. This is a sad truth. Life is nothing but a story that is hard to tell. How can I deny that it is a father not a child who digs the grave?  Maybe there is a future, or even before I forget it is a bleak one.

What about the struggles? The long hours of studies.

The looting of resources by the politicians and everything. This is just to have money and when we are gone, the story ends there. But do you know what it takes to be somebody in this society.

This is a different story and am not here to scare you. You are just children that will find themselves here one day and get killed before you grow up but I pray you live long enough to experience some raw realities of life. In this country, everything is fire. It burns deep down to the core of your humanity.

And please don’t mistake me for a drunken young man because I have never done that before. I am speaking from experience. In this country, we, mostly the struggling majority don’t rest and I really don’t know if God will ever give us a rest one day.

The country is always on the run but ours is painful. To get a daily bread alone is and has always been a prayer request. Little ones, I don’t know how you will make the best use of this life. 

There is nothing good with it. It is an imaginative life.

As you struggle to make it out of the waters, there is a part of you that is always hopeful for something that will never come. “Maybe when am done with my education, a bachelor degree will change my life”. And indeed, it will change you from being an ambitious young person to a hopeless one after realizing that there is no work but corruption.

It will bring tears to your eyes. You will try everything without success and Buddha, Jesus or Mohammed, this is the time when they are going to be some distances away from you. Your prayers will only hit the ceiling and fall down. Your tears won’t make any difference. Your relatives or friends would be too busy to know anything about you. Little ones, your best companion in this life is your shadow.

Your friends can betray you or prove disloyal and this is why I don’t have friends; I only have associates. It takes the world to have a true friend. Others will laugh at you and your relatives can deny you in your trying times but your shadow remains the same forever.

In those times when you are trying to play your cards, your shadow is the only friend or a family you will have. When you are crying your shadow will never leave its place. The rest will come when you have finally crossed the river and claim that they have been praying for you. Others will even say they knew you were going to make it when they used to laugh at you in your trying moments.

If you are going to be on this line where I belong, then God must be very crazy. You are walking on a road made of shattered glasses. At this stage, God just sits and watch without answers to your million questions.

And God will forgive me if I say that he hates you or else he has something bitter to teach you.  Am sorry. This is a totally different place, worse for a young person growing up alone in an unforgiving world. Tears always in your eyes. When you try, it just doesn’t work. The struggle here never stops. You run all the days of your life without catching the target.

Sometimes you don’t even understand what is chasing you. It is the whole world falling upon you. You can’t imagine your exit. It is all dark inside and nobody to shine light through your way.

You wonder what you have done wrong but they will tell you that you have to study hard, of course this is the only recipe to a successful life. But your parents are poor. Let us start with primary level when you are still young. Nothing happens here except a primary leaving certificate and the dopamine is still high because you don’t know what lies ahead. 

Your parents will sell a goat or a cow once in a while to settle your school fees. For those without animals, selling parts of their land or some of their utensils would save them, for a short time from the burden of school fees.

They will always advise you to avoid bad groups or even girls or boys and keep good grades at school. You worked harder and got a straight A or its equivalent but your friends from Alpha families will do good but not enough and buy their way to better schools and continue with their education there.

And now, your single mother can’t afford your high school fees. You reached out to your uncle with hopes that your good grades will excite him and surely, they will do and he would promise to send you to a very good school. But don’t blame him, it is alcohol talking.

You then shoulder the burden and pay your school fees alone. At this stage, nothing is ever interesting. You will begin to lose weight and people will you are sick or maybe you drink. The stress will mount when your little sibling started calling you for support.

You become a sad-faced young person in the society but this will only hurt you even more. What have I done; you will ask? But things remain the same. The world is wild and I don’t want to exaggerate.

I have my own worries to bother with yours but am just a concerned person. I want to inform you about the way it is going down here before you come. I also want to tell you that giving up is never tolerated here as long as there is still life. You need to try and try over and over again.

Who knows maybe it will work in your 40s or 50s? The 20s or 30s, you don’t expect good things, major achievements or lots of money to happen here unless you come from a corrupt family where people misuse public resources to better themselves. But when you are just like me, patience is all that you have. And when you don’t have anybody to support you on the way, you need more prayers than a church monk. You have to be on your knees every single time disturbing God.

Little ones, I started this journey in my teen and am in my twenties now but nothing has changed except the way I see life.  I have come to realize that our politicians who have been plundering public funds are just poor in real life and rich because they use power to manipulate and appear richer but if they were in our shoes for a day or two, they will not manage the pushes and waits.

The poverty we are in was not our own making. It is something that we got from our parents but we are always trying to be at least better than our parents and education is a difference. But it pays less here or maybe sometimes that I don’t know. You don’t need to have a master degree in South Sudan and change your financial status overnight.

This is impossible unless you have an uncle or a relative in the job market, that one at least will make some senses but when you are just empty, there is still a lot to ask the world. You have to wish and do something you can at the moment and am not saying it will be easy with you. Little ones, something heavier than you awaits. You have to be prepared now for the run and canes. You have to try and if you don’t rise you need to try again.

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