I only got two hours of sleep last night. I am tired. But after hearing the stories of the South Sudanese, my exhaustion seems a small cross to bare.
The first Seed Effect client we meet has malaria. Another has typhoid. Another has a granddaughter, toddler age, with malaria as well. She sleeps in a thatched hut on a floor behind a table filled with red onions and garlic and plastic bins of dried beans. Flies buzz around her head.
I see other children, bare footed in the muddy brown street, and I don’t ask their stories; I don’t want to know. Instead, I take the greasy hand of a little boy who’s smiling. When I make a face at him, he hides behind his friend. We shake hands again, and again and again, playing a game of sly smiles and handshakes.
He and his friends are so happy, laughing and giggling and reaching for my pale hand. And the clients, too, when we ask them, say that their hearts are happy. They say they thank God, for their businesses, for their families, for the loans provided by Seed Effect. I can’t count the number of times I have heard, “Praise the Lord.” More times about more things than I’ve ever thought to say. I would probably think it off-putting to give thanks so frequently.
The sun is setting, the sky is milky blue, the clouds soft and whispy against green fields and thatched roofs. I am tired from two days travel, from little sleep, from a day walking. But I am in South Sudan, and as the South Sudanese say, Praise the Lord.