Gleaners in South Sudan

  • Hunger makes many South Sudanese people put on their knees to collect the last crumb of food.
  • A woman collects grains of sorghum left on the ground after a food distribution in Ganyiel, South Sudan. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran – AFP.

    Some years ago I watched the documentary The Gleaners and I, by Agnès Varda, a film that I always keep in mind. It features all those people who collect what others throw away. From the moment I saw this movie, I have come across gleaners everywhere I travelled, but never as many as in South Sudan. Here, the last crumb has a value that in other places is not even considered. Empty plastic bottles, puddles, bags, old newspapers and above all, in places where humanitarian organizations distribute food, there is always a group of gleaners who pick up sorghum grains that have been left on the ground. For some people it may look below the human dignity, but it’s definitely a lesson of making the most of others’ waste.

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