The civil war in Sudan between the Muslim North and the tribal South has been going on for more than 20 years. Like all wars, the damage cuts deeply into the soul of the people. I spent several weeks in Sudan, moving around the south, shooting in and around hospitals belonging to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders), in refugee camps, and in villages. Most of the people I photographed were from the Dinka tribe, traditionally cattlemen and nomads, but for the past two generations also rebel soldiers.

Western culture hasn’t penetrated South Sudan the way it's penetrated the rest of Africa. Even in the towns, it’s rare to see the familiar icons of global commerce, such as the ubiquitous Coca-Cola logo. Education, medicine and technology operate at 1960 levels, making the task of rebuilding harder than in other war-torn countries. Peace talks come and go, but the people of South Sudan have come to expect nothing.

Akuem is a village in the Bhar El Ghazal province, where I spent 2 weeks in July, 2002. Bhar El Ghazal suffered a terrible famine in 1998, and is still experiencing drought and periodic food emergencies. It is also near the railroad that carries marauding militiamen from the north, who rape, pillage, and burn their way through the villages, often kidnapping women and children to take back to the north to be used as slaves.

Balmurye is a refugee camp in the Eastern Equatoria province, which has been operational for more than 10 years. Many of the children I met and photographed there were born in the camp, and had never known any other way of life.

 

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