As I look up at the night sky from my compound and watch the same stars as 11 million other people within the same boundary I’m in called South Sudan, I can only think how foreign my life is to them, not only my upbringing in Australia but also from within the compound I currently stay.
I have known the joys of birthday cake, camping, being taken to the football by my dad every weekend during the winter, and then even just the basics – having food anytime I have needed it, an opportunity to go to school, and to be alive in this world having survived along with my mother after being a complicated birth. This continues for me today in South Sudan as am able to afford a place to stay where I feel safe to go to sleep tonight.
When I think of the 11 million people around me I know that the vast majority if not every single person native to this land has seen hardship, felt deep sorrow and known at least one time of absolute fear.
The conflict that has been in the lives of every South Sudanese person has brought them at least one, if not untold numbers of challenges. As I live and work here – safely, comfortably and happily I don’t know how I cannot be humble, thankful and in admiration of every South Sudanese person I see.
I am not going to make martyrs of all the people here because there are still people making very bad choices and decisions that negatively affect others. I also don’t wish to face any one of the challenges to try and burden my sense of guilt. All I can do is be extremely thankful to have the opportunity to be brought up with access and opportunity to thrive and to now do whatever I can so the children being born in South Sudan today and into the future can also live without unnecessary challenges that I didn’t face just because of where I was born.
I don’t work in aid and development or advocacy to feel good about myself or to get admiration I do it because if there is one other human in this world who has to face an unnecessary challenge just because of where they are born then I am missing a piece of my humanity and the humanity of the world.
I don’t have simple answers or quick fix solutions to these challenges or a timeline that they will all be fulfilled but I love the pursuit, learning, engagement and application of being the very best humanitarian I can be.
This passage is designed for others to peer into my heart which has been greatly influenced from the experiences I have received and to also see if there is room in their hearts to do what we can for humanity from any spot in the world.
Footnote: I do not expect anyone to do what I do or be who I am as I have the luxury of living as a nomad, living without responsibilities and this is my particular passion in life but this is why I love offering anyone / everyone to take small Teaspoons of Change that can have a positive impact on the planet – that may be happy simple living in a tiny house, joining an awards program like Polio Points, walking 1000km or just thinking there is one people, one love.