Saturday, March 7, 2009

Post War Rebuilding

Samuel is one face of the hope that is rebuilding Juba. He opened a hair salon while I was there and his business is thriving. He rented a small room, collected the necessary equipment and opened the doors for business. His family runs the day-to-day operation and he manages through constant attention to the details. (Jeremiah-left and Samuel-right)

While Darfur takes the spotlight these days, some leaders in Southern Sudan have noted that the world looked the other way when 3 million of its residents were killed in the 20 year civil war and countless others were displaced. The challenges to recovery, more than three years after the Comprehensive Peace Agreement muzzled the cannons, are daunting.

Rebuilding in a post-war environment is more than using brick and mortar to replace destroyed buildings. It is reconstructing the sense of community, of faith in systems that are fair and protect its citizens and commerce. It is the psychological well-being that looks to the future and invests in the coming generations. For too many years the war here has dashed hopes for anything even the next meal. Planting for the future was futile because some military action might smash plans for betterment as quickly as bombs explode.

While the ceasefire currently being enjoyed gives a window of opportunity, will the guns stay silent? Will economic development overtake ‘force of arms’ as the primary engine of change? Samuel is banking on that.

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