I connected this haiku I wrote to a photo that was taken on the 2009 trip we made to Patuet, in South Sudan.  I don’t know who in our team took this photo.  It could have been either Dr Ian Everitt or photographer extraordinaire, Bena Wandei.  I love the way the photograph depicts the livestock farming in the tropical wet and dry climate of South Sudan.  Temperatures are high throughout the year, with a dry season from November to March and a wet season from April to October.  The wet season arouses the earth, the country side becomes alive; yet the water and the earth are quickly dried up with the onset of the somewhat shorter dry season. South Sudan’s major water resources are the Nile (White and Blue Nile) and its tributaries, and aquifers. A large part of South Sudan is covered by wetlands at favourable times of the year.  We were in Patuet in late February, the hottest and driest time of the year.  The shepherds still herd their goats, sheep and cattle; nothing much grows this time of year, fresh fruit and vegetables are non-existent.  The well is the only local water available, the water tank dries up quickly.  The hot, dry conditions trigger seasonal human and livestock migration to more permanent water sources (the toic), which serve as dry season grazing pasture, and for some ethnic groups, such as the Dinka, they also serve as fishing grounds.  The people  living in Patuet are of the Nuer tribe, they are predominantly cattle herders.

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