Christmas liturgies will be over-crowded and celebrations will be buoyant. The people have learned to be grateful for what little they have, including the gift of life itself. South Sudanese know what it is like to be born in a stable, to endure suffering but to enjoy celebrating together.
Incredible when you read the rest of this story.
Imagine being jailed because you protested against not having been paid for the past three months. This is what happened in South Sudan this month (December 2017). Over 30 teachers in government schools were sentenced to one month imprisonment and a fine of 1,000 SSP for protesting against unpaid salaries. SSP 1.000 is about USD12.0 and is the monthly salary for a teacher.
Hunger is widespread but even those who have a little money find it hard to buy any good because travel is unsafe in many areas outside the capital, Juba. Vehicles are stopped and all goods of value, including food, are stolen. So it is difficult for traders to bring food in, markets and shops have little to sell.
Even running a small business in large towns has become increasingly difficult and dangerous. The amount of money one can withdraw each day was suddenly slashed so many people are making multiple trips to the bank in which the queues are longer and longer and more and more time is wasted. So local businesses are now demanding to be paid in cash, not by cheque. With increased amounts of cash being carried around, temptation and opportunity for crime increases.
Of course, most people do not have bank accounts. They have nothing to deposit. And yet there is hope. Let us pray that God will raise up women and men on fire with justice who will have the strength and perseverance to bring about political change in South Sudan.
(Adapted from Newsletter from Br Bill Firman, Solidarity with South Sudan)