OpEd, Politics

Things are tough, share the little you have with brothers and sisters

By Diing Atem Akoi Diing


South Sudanese are subjected to a situation where one feels that workmates friends, relatives, and bosses’ pockets are much better than their own pocket.

Honestly, it’s very wrong to assume that the economic crisis has not hit some individuals regardless of one’s status. Whether rich or vulnerable, we are all affected.

So far, I would like to share the past and present situations with dear South Sudanese who are creators of wealth but don’t enjoy their sweat after all. Some people spend the whole night and the day fishing and salting fish for export; digging the ground deeper for agricultural production and some are involved in running small micro businesses in order to sustain families but all these do not bring sustainability, still facing hardship due to soaring of prices of commodities in the market.

In a situation like this people are in, a dinka tribe of South Sudan has a say, says, “Things have gone in the hands of big girls.” Well, before we look into what it means, I want to tell you that as we speak, things are even beyond the control of big girls. Let us first get the meaning of the proverb “big girls.” What does it mean? Simply, it refers to a time of hardship when life becomes tougher. Only rich people and those in power can manage to feed their families, and the rest become helpless to their families. In that situation, only good-hearted people would share the little with their immediate families, friends and colleagues, but the rest deserve themselves from associating even with other people.

It’s a situation where common citizens of South Sudan cannot even afford basic foodstuff such as salt, a sack of sorghum grain, maize flour, a liter of cooking oil, and so on, but only few could sustain themselves in this economic recession.

Today, big girls refer to businessmen, authoritarians or politicians; it could be those working with International Non-governmental organizations (INGOs). For instance, United Nations Agencies; Foreign missions especially Embassies, and national and international companies.

In the past, South Sudanese were happy with their way of living, things were cheaper or affordable, and the country still had economic vibrancy opposite to today’s economic dormancy. By then, big girls were owners of South Sudan. When you meet those driving V8 cars on the road, a bundle of South Sudanese pounds would be out thrown to you. There was gratuity (cash given to a waiter/waitress) in a hotel as an appreciation for service.

Some years back, people did not waste time to bargain for the price of items in the market. They used to buy at any price, especially big girls. Community functions were often attended in good numbers. Everyone could be seen in suits competing, pledging dollars to fund community projects. Most of the big girls’ families rented outside the country, and their children were taken to good schools. When a child feels symptoms of malaria and typhoid, medication is taken from neighboring countries such as Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, and Egypt.

If your deal of getting some dollars succeeded, you order land cruiser V8 car from Japan and United Arab Emirates. Big girls spend their weekends in Dubai, UAE, and come back for work in the week. If I may ask, which country was it? Was this South Sudan?

However, high tables had been created according to political and economic classes and did meet after work every day to discuss politics and lobby for positions in town. And no one could intend to pre-determine what might happen in the future (the present time). In those days, people in South Sudan ate enough bread, and even at home, everyone would eat until he/she was satisfied with food. Today, people eat half of the bread imagine!

Dear citizens, let’s try to compare the above situation with this frightful economy facing us today. Look, soaring of prices worsening every day, making our life become difficult. Prices increase at night, and a new day starts with new prices.

The number of cars on the roads keeps decreasing every morning because fuel has hiked to an extent that not everyone can afford a liter of petrol. I wonder! Even moving from estates to town using public service vehicles (PSV), you first ask how much the fare is before entering into the bus because prices keep changing day by day.

Furthermore, no gratuity is given to waiters/waitresses as usual. People have reduced food ratios; even those who eat twice a day reduce to one meal per day, and those who took one meal a day extended to eat after a day. Most big girls’ families moved to seek asylum in foreign countries. They opted to take their children to average-performing schools. Some of them take their medication from Juba teaching hospital; the pride of having V8 cars no longer there as many are not interesting in buying expensive cars.

In a sense, the South Sudan economic crisis affects everyone with different capacities, either rich or poor. You can simply agree with me that things are beyond even big girls’ capacity. No one is safe in this current situation. The now situation is a curse on citizens of South Sudan. To sustain ourselves, let’s come together in order to support one another and share the little we have as far now.

It’s my humble call to both rich and politicians to support vulnerable people who cannot afford to buy basic commodities in the market. When I took my time and read the bible; it says to me that“command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything.” 1 Timothy 6: 17. So my people let’s put all hopes in Almighty God. Share your wealth with friends, colleagues, and families.

You must agree with me that South Sudanese die in silence, some minds are culturally conquered and sometimes find it difficult to ask another person for help. So, pay a visit to your neighbors in their houses and share the little you have with them. It’s a time where everyone’s become a needy, economically, socially, spiritually and even psychologically. It sometimes looks contrary if I say to friends that“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will hear burning coals on his head and you will become friend instead”As a Christian nation, bear in your mind that all believers are one in heart and mind. No one claims that any of their possessions is their own, but share everything you have with others.

I would like to put myself in the same feet with the Former Overseer of the Pentecostal church Isaiah Majok Dau, who once posted on his Facebook page one of the verses in the bible that says“If we treat people right when we are on the platform of leadership, they will treat us accordingly when we leave that platform! This message direct to whoever in authority to take care of his/her own people so that people will also take full responsibility of him.

Let’s take break in looking into this question, if things are out in the hand of big girls, what about the situation of small girls or the poor? The low earners are facing hardship indeed but they should know that their life is far much better compare to big girls’ life. Why? It’s easy for small girls to go and make charcoal, the job big girls can’t do, you can even go to wetlands or swampy areas for fishing but the rich or big girls could not reach the place. A poor man can sleep with empty stomach but a big girl may cry the whole night.

To conclude, let’s stop pointing fingers at others. We must unite as one people, for one nation to overcome this terrible hardship. Bear in your minds that no one is better than the other, either rich or poor. You are on the same path of life. I am encouraging the citizens of South Sudan to work hard in order to sustain families. It’s time to develop the spirit of sharing, the little things you have with your friends, colleagues and relatives especially the people in need.

The author is a student at Maseno University, Kenya.



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