soccer

Bicycling into South Sudan’s Independence

by Spencer

It was an epic week. A nation born. The people had a palpable joy – flags fluttering from tree tops, mountains, pickups and people, celebratory honking, singing, fireworks and gunfire. It was a beautiful.

And yet, everywhere was the evidence that South Sudan isn’t truly a nation. It’s landlocked with barely a paved road. Less than 5% graduate from primary school. Tribalism rules, many do not speak a common language. The central government is weak.

There was an air of violence. It’s hard to articulate. You just felt it. I’d look at a guy and he’d look back without expression, stone cold. And then you wonder, where does that go?

In South Sudan, you see how far we’ve come. You see what it means to be a nation. And how very important that struggle is, to do the necessary maintenance, to remain one, indivisible.

Here’s photos of South Sudan’s Independence, of Nimule and the first national soccer game in Juba. An incredible experience, from being threatened by bandits, to the nonexistent infrastructure contrasted to the mass joy of the people.

edited 1/1/2015

New Nation, New Football Team

by Spencer

I told the security guard we had bicycled up from South Africa. Ah! South Africa! You must have faced many challenges. Yes, we have faced many challenges. I then congratulated him on his nation’s independence. Yes today is a great day. We were up in those hills when the Sudanese army came. It was a big battle. Oh. You have faced many challenges too. Yes we have faced many challenges.

Welcome to South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, where the soldiers at check points have not only assault rifles and cammo but also decorative scars. There is a palpable excitement. More waving flags per square car than anywhere else. Here’s a couple quick photos of South Sudan’s first national football game, South Sudan vs Kenya. Unfortunately South Sudan lost, 1-3, but it was yet a good showing.