I chose this photograph I took in Patuet in 2009 to create a poem! I have not really considered writing something to a photograph before; generally choosing a photo from our large photographic library to match something I have already written! it was rather interesting; I guess like a painter sitting in a beautiful setting, waiting for inspiration. It was challenging at first, but once the words began to flow, the well was no longer dry!
I wrote this poem yesterday. Yet again, I found an apt photograph a fellow team member took in South Sudan. Russell Turner and his son took wheelchairs with us on the first trip. The fellow in the chair is an elderly chief, in his 90’s, which is rather old in South Sudan. I love the people, they are so tall and proud. I really do love these folks, and their culture.
I took this photograph in Patuet, South Sudan (once again) in 2009; OK, I know! I have hundreds of photos from this time, and many other times that I cherish, the memories are wonderful. Photos are like touch ups of memories that over time begin to fade. Unless we go back, almost like returning to the easel, these memories can pummel into oblivion, skewing our recollection of events and adventures; sort of like a dream really. Dreams can’t be returned to like photos or touched up, like an old painting; this is probably for the best in many instances….. Particularly for me, the nightmare is a frequent visitor. I’m a don’t shut down without a fight kinda person, a storm raging in the head, a light that won’t go out, no matter how many times I try to turn it off; sort of like reaching for the switch, but it’s too high (I am only 4 foot 10 inches tall)!
Anyway, back to the photograph; I took it when we were walking back to the dusty man-made airstrip, this little home is teetering on the edge of the airstrip that locals made, by jumping up and down on the ground, until the earth was compacted sufficiently (no joke). It was rather a precarious landing when we arrived, but better than walking for three hours from the nearest village, as we did in 2007. Life is an adventure, no matter where you live, what you do or who you are…. Grab it, run with it, dream good dreams, live long!
As followers know, I have been to South Sudan a couple of times to do some work in a lovely village called Patuet. I took this lovely photo of a sunset, typically African. Sadly the trip we were supposed to be going on in April this year was cancelled for agriculture work, as we couldn’t get enough funding for the project to go ahead, so hoping that next year this will be another story. Fortunately the medical team got to go, and did a great job, as usual. I attached this poem I wrote to the photograph I took of the beautiful sunset in Patuet. Lovely memories….
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.
Estimated Population: 8.2 million
Capital: Juba (Population 250,000); relocating to Ramciel by 2016
Bordering Countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic and Sudan
Area: 239,285 square miles (619,745 sq km)
The Republic of South Sudan is now a country of its own. We now have approximately 196 countries in the world (there are discrepencies surrounding these figures, as the U.S. government does not recognise Taiwan as an official independent country. Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_countries_are_there_in_the_world#ixzz1c56GNFgv
South Sudan became an independent nation on July 9, 2011. The split was a hands down win, with a 99% vote supporting independence. The main reason for secession from Sudan were cultural and religious differences and a decade of civil war.
History of South Sudan
South Sudan’s history did not become documented until the early 1800s when Egyptians took control of the area; however oral traditions claim that the people of South Sudan entered the region before the 10th century and organized tribal societies existed there from the 15th to the 19th centuries. By the 1870s, Egypt attempted to colonise the area and established the colony of Equatoria. In the 1880s, the Mahdist Revolt occurred and Equatoria’s status as an Egyptian outpost was over by 1889. In 1898 Egypt and Great Britain established joint control of Sudan and in 1947 British colonists entered South Sudan and attempted to join it with Uganda. The Juba Conference, also in 1947, instead joined South Sudan with Sudan.
In 1953 Great Britain and Egypt gave Sudan the powers of self government and on January 1, 1956, Sudan gained full independence. Shortly after independence though, Sudan’s leaders failed to deliver on promises to create a federal system of government which began a long period of civil war between the northern and southern areas of the country because the north has long tried to implement Muslim policies and customs on the Christian south.
By the 1980s, the civil war in Sudan caused serious economic and social problems which resulted in a lack of infrastructure, human rights issues and the displacement of a large part of its population. In 1983 the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) was founded and in 2000, Sudan and the SPLA/M came up with several agreements that would give South Sudan independence from the rest of the country and put it on a path to becoming an independent nation. After working with the United Nations Security Council the Government of Sudan and the SPLM/A signed the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on January 9, 2005.
On January 9, 2011 Sudan held an election with a referendum regarding South Sudan’s secession. It passed with nearly 99% of the vote and on July 9, 2011 South Sudan officially seceded from Sudan, making it the world’s 196th independent country.
Government of South Sudan
South Sudan’s interim constitution was ratified on July 7, 2011, which established a presidential system of government and a President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, as the head of that government. In addition, South Sudan has a unicameral South Sudan Legislative Assembly and an independent judiciary with the highest court being the Supreme Court. South Sudan is divided into ten different states and three historical provinces (Bahr el Ghazal, Equatoria and Greater Upper Nile) and its capital city is Juba, which is located in the state of Central Equatoria (map).
Economy of South Sudan
South Sudan’s economy is based main on the export of its natural resources. Oil is the main resource in South Sudan and oilfields in the southern part of the country drive its economy. There are however, conflicts with Sudan as to how the revenue from the oilfields will be split following South Sudan’s independence. Timber resources like teak, also represent a major part of the region’s economy and other natural resources include iron ore, copper, chromium ore, zinc, tungsten, mica, silver and gold. Hydropower is also important as the Nile River has many tributaries in South Sudan. Agriculture also plays a major role in South Sudan’s economy and the main products of that industry are cotton, sugarcane, wheat, nuts and fruit like mangoes, papaya and bananas.
Geography and Climate of South Sudan
South Sudan is a landlocked country located in eastern Africa (map). Since South Sudan is located near the Equator in the tropics, much of its landscape consists of tropical rainforest and its protected national parks are home to a plethora of migrating wildlife. South Sudan also has extensive swamp and grassland regions. The White Nile, a main tributary of the Nile River, also passes through the country. The highest point in South Sudan is Kinyeti at 10,456 feet (3,187 m) and it is located on its far southern border with Uganda.
The climate of South Sudan varies but it is mainly tropical. Juba, the capital and largest city in South Sudan, has average yearly high temperature of 94.1˚F (34.5˚C) and an average yearly low temperature of 70.9˚F (21.6˚C). The most rainfall in South Sudan is between the months of April and October and the average yearly total for rainfall is 37.54 inches (953.7 mm).
To learn more about South Sudan, visit the official government website of South Sudan.
This article mostly came from: http://geography.about.com/od/sudanmaps/a/south-sudan-geography.htm
Fauna, flora, and mycobiota
South Sudan’s protected area of Bandingilo National Park (http://nile-jewel.org/destination-and-maps/national-parks/) hosts the second-largest wildlife migration in the world. Surveys have revealed that Boma National Park, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildlife_of_South_Sudan) west of the Ethiopian border, as well as the Sudd wetland and Southern National Park near the border with Congo, provided habitat for large populations of hartebeest, kob, topi, buffalo, elephants, giraffes, and lions. South Sudan’s forest reserves also provided habitat for bongo, giant forest hogs, Red River hogs, forest elephants, chimpanzees, and forest monkeys. Surveys begun in 2005 by WCS in partnership with the semi-autonomous government of Southern Sudan revealed that significant, though diminished wildlife populations still exist, and that, astonishingly, the huge migration of 1.3 million antelopes in the southeast is substantially intact.
Habitats in the country include grasslands, high-altitude plateaus and escarpments, wooded and grassy savannas, floodplains, and wetlands. Associated wildlife species include the endemic white-eared kob and Nile Lechwe, as well as elephants, giraffes, common eland, giant eland, oryx, lions, African wild dogs, cape buffalo, and topi (locally called tiang). Little is known about the white-eared kob and tiang, both types of antelope, whose magnificent migrations were legendary before the civil war. The Boma-Jonglei Landscape region encompasses Boma National Park, broad pasturelands and floodplains, Bandingilo National Park, and the Sudd, a vast area of swamp and seasonally-flooded grasslands that includes the Zeraf Wildlife Reserve.
Little is known of the fungi of South Sudan. A list of fungi in Sudan was prepared by S.A.J. Tarr and published by the then Commonwealth Mycological Institute (Kew, Surrey, UK) in 1955. The list, of 383 species in 175 genera, included all fungi observed within the then boundaries of the country. Many of those records relate to what is now South Sudan. Most of the species recorded were associated with diseases of crops. The true number of species of fungi occurring in South Sudan is likely to be much higher. Nothing is known of the conservation status of fungi in South Sudan although, like animals and plants, they are likely to be affected by climate change, pollution, and other threats.
In 2006, President Kiir announced that his government would do everything possible to protect and propagate South Sudanese fauna and flora, and seek to reduce the effects of wildfires, waste dumping, and water pollution. The environment is threatened by the development of the economy and infrastructure.
Several ecoregions extend across South Sudan: the East Sudanian savanna, Northern Congolian forest-savanna mosaic, Saharan flooded grasslands (Sudd), Sahelian Acacia savanna, East African montane forests, and the Northern Acacia–Commiphora bushlands and thickets.
There are over 60 indigenous languages spoken in South Sudan. Most of the indigenous languages are classified under the Nilo-Saharan language family; collectively, they represent two of the first order divisions of Nilo-Saharan (Eastern Sudanic and Central Sudanic). The remainder belong to the Ubangi languages of the Niger-Congo language family, and they are spoken in the southwest. The most recent available population statistics for many South Sudan indigenous languages go back to the 1980s. Since then, the war of independence led to many civilian deaths and massive displacements of refugees to Sudan and beyond. Due to the drawing of colonial borders Africa by the European invaders in the 19th and 20th centuries, some South Sudan indigenous languages are spoken in neighboring countries also, and some of these languages have even more speakers in the neighboring countries. Zande, for example is estimated to have twice as many speakers in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, while the Banda group of languages may have more speakers in the Central African Republic than in South Sudan. In South Sudan, the languages with the most speakers are Nuer with 740,000 speakers in 1982 and the Dinka sociolinguistic language or dialect continuum with perhaps 1.4 million in 1986; these two groups of languages are also closely related to one another. Bari had 420,000 in 2000, and Zande had 350,000 in 1982. Of the Ubangi languages, available figures indicate that Zande is the only one with a substantial number of speakers in South Sudan.
In the state of Western Bahr Al Ghazal, in its border region with the neighboring country of Sudan, there is an indeterminate number of Baggara Arabs—a traditionally nomadic people—that resides either seasonally or permanently. Their language is Chadian Arabic and their traditional territories are in the southern portions of the Sudanese regions of Kordofan and Darfur. In the capital, Juba, there are several thousand people who use an Arabic pidgin, Juba Arabic. Since South Sudan was long a part of Sudan for a century, some South Sudanese are conversant in either Sudanese Arabic or Modern Standard Arabic, the latter being the native spoken language of Arabs and Arabized peoples in Sudan.
The official language of South Sudan is English.
South Sudan’s ambassador to Kenya said on 2 August 2011 that Swahili will be introduced in South Sudan with the goal of supplanting Arabic as a lingua franca, in keeping with the country’s intention of orientation toward the East African Community rather than Sudan and the Arab League.
A group of South Sudanese refugees who were raised in Cuba during the Sudanese wars, numbering about 600, also speak fluent Spanish. They have been named the Cubanos, and most had settled in Juba by the time of the country’s independence.
Briney, Amanda. (3 March 2011). “Geography of Sudan – Learn the Geography of the African Nation of Sudan.” Geography at About.com. Retrieved from: http://geography.about.com/od/sudanmaps/a/sudan-geography.htm
British Broadcasting Company. (8 July 2011). “South Sudan Becomes an Independent Nation.” BBC News Africa. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14089843
Goffard, Christopher. (10 July 2011). “South Sudan: New Nation of South Sudan Declares Independence.” Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-south-sudan-independence-20110710,0,2964065.story
Wikipedia.org. (10 July 2011). South Sudan – Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Sudan
South Sudan Resources
- Grace Jokudu : South Sudan (kiva.org)
- Bebyana Samuel : South Sudan (kiva.org)
- Asala Joseph : South Sudan (kiva.org)