© M. Martinez
"Leaving YEI IS NOT AN OPTION. MY GIRLS ARE TOO YOUNG AND the ROADS TOO DANGEROUs"
“Every day, my biggest worry is being able to feed my five daughters,” explains Grace, a native of Yei in southern Sudan. “Life in Yei has changed. In the span of a few months, everyone is gone. Yei has become a ghost town where hunger and fear reign.” In the streets, the situation is chilling: only the most vulnerable people have remained. The majority of the population now consists of women alone or with children, elderly, or people who are suffering. Grace is no exception. “My husband had no choice, he had to leave us. As a soldier, he was sent on mission away from us. Many other people left for Uganda. I cannot count on my family, they’re dead.” Grace thought, too, about leaving. “Leaving Yei is not an option for me. My daughters are too young and the roads too dangerous for 6 women alone.
Aged 32, Grace has five girls including two twins. They are now 15, 13, and 10 years old. As for the twins, they are only 6 years old. She worries about their future. “My daughters have been out of school for months.” Unemployed, she no longer has a salary to pay the registration fee and uniform. “What will they do without education?” Grace wonders.
Of timid nature, Grace reveals fragments of her new daily life. “I do not have a job anymore. The medical center where I worked had to close because of violence and insecurity. The city is almost dead. Nobody comes out and the sounds of shootings are an integral part of our daily life.” Former peasant, she says: “The harvest season begins but access to the land is too risky”. At Yei, famine strikes. Yet this city is located in one of the most fertile regions of East Africa.
At Yei, Caritas distributes food to the most fragile like Grace. Eight centers make the distribution for the city. At present, 160 tons of food have been distributed. In the rations, Caritas selected the essential: cereals, beans, oil, and salt. “Thanks to this help, my daughters as well as myself, can have a meal a day. It allows us to continue and not give up.”