On my desk this week….South Sudan celebrates Independence Day!


South Sudan flag at independence

Photo by sidelife

I’ve been very excited about this week and I’ve been typing double time to squeeze in even more work than usual. Why’s that?

It’s Fourth of July this week and it’s time to celebrate!

For many Americans, this means barbeques, family time, reflecting on our nation’s history and of course, fireworks. And lucky for me, I was able to partake in all four of these activities. And I love it, because for my family, this is our tradition. It’s tradition not only for my family, but several others across this nation.

As I waded through the assignments on my desk this week, the traditions of this holiday lingered in the back of my mind. And one assignment got me thinking about how people in the countries we work in celebrate their Independence Day.

South Sudan Independence Day

For not only is it Independence Day for America this week, but South Sudan, a country that Food for the Hungry works in, celebrates its new independence on July 9.

S. Sudan is celebrating its one-year anniversary as an independent nation.

One year!

I can’t imagine how exciting that must be for the S. Sudanese people. But, as I researched articles on S. Sudan’s upcoming Independence Day, I was disheartened to see that there were many negative stories about its struggle as a new nation in the last year and the internal and external conflicts that continue to plague the country on a daily basis.

I kept searching.

And I found what I was looking for. Despite the turmoil and conflicts, they are preparing to celebrate in a big way. Although funding has only been given to country’s capital, Juba, for celebrations, S. Sudan’s other states are being encouraged to organize their own celebrations.

And they are!

Creating tradition

Families all over the country are preparing to celebrate. As Food for the Hungry continues its work in this war-torn, recovering, impoverished country, I am encouraged to see the celebratory spirit in the people. I am encouraged that despite its hardships, they are continuing to forge ahead as an independent nation.

Last year, tens of thousands of South Sudanese celebrated by dancing, singing and waving the country’s flag in the capital, Juba. The crowd danced for hours in the sweltering heat. Men and women cried. Leaders spoke throughout the day. Traditional music could be heard late into the night.

Now, this sounds like a tradition worth repeating.

Food for thought: How did you celebrate Fourth of July this year?

About Esther Martinez

Esther Martinez is a Multimedia writer and photographer at Food for the Hungry. She is an Arizona native who loves to travel. Her background is in photography and journalism. Outside of work she enjoys discovering new foodie restaurants, embarking on creative photography projects and scouting the local music scene. Through her blog, you'll be able to see what comes across her desk each month.

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