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Pulitzer Center

Reports from the field - an exclusive channel of Pulitzer Center reporting

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Jen Marlowe, for the Pulitzer Center

"The SPLM fought and gave us our independence. But we haven't seen them since then. They sit in Juba."

"We came back from the North, from Khartoum, when we heard about the peace agreement. We were happy about the peace. But we came back to nothing. No food, no health care, nothing."

Homecoming for Garang

We could hear the ululations, singing and drumming as we approached Lang village, just a short drive from Akon, in an SUV we borrowed from the home of Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan. (he is from Akon).

The village was expecting the return of their lost son. And all the village turned out, as well as people from neighboring villages. Garang climbed down from the car and was immediately surrounded by a swarm of people who wanted to touch him, hug him, kiss him, make sure he was real.

Homecoming for Garang

Jen Marlowe, for the Pulitzer Center

We could hear the ululations, singing and drumming as we approached Lang village, just a short drive from Akon, in an SUV we borrowed from the home of Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan. (he is from Akon).

The village was expecting the return of their lost son. And all the village turned out, as well as people from neighboring villages. Garang climbed down from the car and was immediately surrounded by a swarm of people who wanted to touch him, hug him, kiss him, make sure he was real.

Tomorrow is a Big Day

"Tomorrow is a big day," Jen commented this evening, referring to our planned trips out to the village of Gabriel Bol Deng and Samuel Garang Mayoul. She's right, of course. Tomorrow will be in intense. But every day has been a big dy. Each day there has been a crisis. At moments the whole project has threatened to come apart at the seams.

All in Akon

It's amazing that in a village without (yet) a functioning clinic, electricity, running water--where malnutrition and disease run rampant, where children are dressed in torn rags, if at all...there is internet at the WHO compound.

Tomorrow is a Big Day

David Morse, for the Pulitzer Center

"Tomorrow is a big day," Jen commented this evening, referring to our planned trips out to the village of Gabriel Bol Deng and Samuel Garang Mayoul. She's right, of course. Tomorrow will be in intense. But every day has been a big day. Each day there has been a crisis. At moments the whole project has threatened to come apart at the seams.

All in Akon

Jen Marlowe, for the Pulitzer Center

It's amazing that in a village without (yet) a functioning clinic, electricity, running water--where malnutrition and disease run rampant, where children are dressed in torn rags, if at all...there is internet at the WHO compound.

Koor and Garang

Jen Marlowe, for the Pulitzer Center

Before leaving for Nairobi, I had spent the most time with Gabriel Bol. I had made two trips to Syracuse, piggy-backing on talks related to my previous film, Darfur Diaires that I had in Ithaca, and spent many hours in conversation with Gabriel Bol and interviewing him.

In contrast, I had spent only a day and a half with Koor in Tucson and only spoken to Garang on the phone.

Koor and Garang

Before leaving for Nairobi, I had spent the most time with Gabriel Bol. I had made two trips to Syracuse, piggy-backing on talks related to my previous film, Darfur Diaires that I had in Ithaca, and spent many hours in conversation with Gabriel Bol and interviewing him.

In contrast, I had spent only a day and a half with Koor in Tucson and only spoken to Garang on the phone.

Will Gabriel be on the Plane?

    The seven us are pecking away, each in his own tiny stall in a sweltering second-floor Internet cafe. We've just consumated a successful foray into the Kenyan bureaucracy, thanks to Jen's careful advance footwork and - who knows? the fact that the woman greeting us at Immigration happened to have spent a summer at the University of Connecticut. "That's just a couple of miles up the road from me," I tell her. She writes a letter approving our planned six-day stay at Kakuma refugee camp, which will take place on the return leg of our trip to South Sudan. She not only has the letter typed up, but sends a secretary down to tell us it will be ready in a couple of minutes.

What will we find in Sudan?

David Morse, for the Pulitzer Center

The more I learn about my traveling companions, the deeper the question becomes. What will we find in Sudan?

Each day spent here in Nairobi has been an eye-opening experience, as we go through the process of making decisions - How many mosquito nets are enough for two villages? How do we weigh the cost of getting these supplies into the bush against our collective ability to pay?

Who are we? What is this process really about? And who are we as a team?