In Tarkeka, South Sudan, farmers wear skirts and pray for safety. Their task requires patience. Plants mature slowly. In that time, a lot can happen.

Mary has seen it.

She’s watched drought kill crops slowly. She’s seen armed herders drive livestock through farmland and trample plants. She’s seen farmers’ hard work set on fire.

Later, Mary explains how the women had gathered to form a community organization. They wrote proposals in the hope someone would help.

“I said, ‘The first thing that we want is seeds — to help the women,’” she recalls. The local relief office responded regardless of a difference in religion. Donors in the U.S. paid for seeds and equipment. Those seeds grew into the baby plants Mary was celebrating — sesame, beans and corn.

“God willing, next time you come, you can see it,” she says with a smile, fully aware that her little seedlings remain at risk as long as peace is uncertain. Danger isn’t far away. But for now, she dances.

 

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