From one of Cyprien's Emails:
"I landed in Aweil (South Sudan) in the afternoon of the 20th of April (13:00). The landing strip is located in the middle of the village, joining the two sides. When there is no aircraft, the landing strip is a soccer field where kids play football while watching their cows. It is also where trucks from Kisangani and Kampala offload their cargo, filling the strip with cycling villagers and smaller trucks crossing.
Before landing the pilot flies at very low altitude to chase away any living creature on the strip. Once this warning is given, and the "airport" is vacated, the pilot then comes back to land.
This deep in the bush, people are poor, sometimes slow. Goods (generally imported from Uganda and northern DRC) are expensive.
It was hard to find casual labour to help me build the concrete base for the office satellite communications dish, the Vsat. At a running cost of 629 USD per month for voice and data, the Vsat enables us to cut down the communications costs dramatically, so I had to get this dish up and running. And I only had one day to do it. The challenge was to find casual laborers to help me build the concrete base. I could do the rest by myself.
After hiring a dozen of them who resigned only minutes after they have taken the job, I am introduced to these Darfur refugees who accepted my terms and conditions: working through the night until the concrete base is done, loading the gravel, the bricks, the iron rods and transporting them to the site. They took the job.
We worked from 14:30 and completed the work the next day at 03:00 AM. In the morning at 08:30 we started the work again, plastering the bricks. This is when I took this picture. This daily labour, this man, is a refugee from Darfur. He has little or nothing. Not even a home. Lives in a camp. He worked through the night. And still, he smiled. It was comforting to see this smile.
When they were paid their honoraria, they looked at me like someone who gave them a grant or a present. And yet, the salary was their right. They were thankful, and yet they did ME a favour!
I left wishing I could be more of help to them another day. But 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 can not give me: The sense of feeling to be of help to a human being."
Camp Juba/Southern Sudan