I have twenty-four hours in Aweil to build a concrete base for the office satellite communications dish. This system enables us to cut down the communications costs dramatically, so I really have to get it up and running before the plane picks me up again. And I only have one day to do it. The challenge is to find casual laborers to help me build the concrete base. The rest of the work, I can do by myself.
After hiring a dozen of them who resign minutes after they have taken the job, I am introduced to these Darfur refugees who accepted my terms and conditions: work through the night until the concrete base is done, load the gravel, the bricks, the iron rods and transport them to the site. They take the job.
We work from 14:30 and complete the work the next day at 03:00 in the morning. At 08:30 we continue, plastering the bricks. This is when I take a picture of this man. This daily labour is a refugee from Darfur. He has little or nothing. Not even a home. He lives in a camp. He worked through the night and still, he smiles. It is comforting to see this smile.
When I pay them in the evening, they look at me like someone who just gave them an award or a present. And yet, the salary is their right. They are thankful while yet they did ME a favour!
I leave wishing I could be more of help to them another day. I realize this is what I enjoy about working in this part of the world. In all of my actions, I get the chance to see its immediate impact on the people, on the beneficiaries. I will never regret having chosen to work here. Here I get what a big salary or a promotion cannot give me: the feeling that I have been of help to a human being.
Story and picture by Cyprien Hiniolwa (Camp Juba, Southern Sudan).
Edited by “E” and Peter Casier
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