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Where are the men?

Women in South Sudan assume the hardest daily work, such as fetching water, bringing food at home and cooking it, collecting firewood and working in farms.

Nyibol Lual, a 13-year-old girl, helps her family to prepare the land for cultivation in Panthau, South Sudan. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran – AFP
Nyibol Lual, a 13-year-old girl, helps her family to prepare the land for cultivation in Panthau, South Sudan. Photo by Albert Gonzalez Farran – AFP

In Panthau, a small village in Northern Bahr al Gazhal, South Sudan, I see three distant people weeding their land. It’s noon, the sun is strong, it’s very hot and the humidity really high. When I get closer, I realise they are three women, a mother and her two older daughters, who are preparing the family land for the coming rains. All three are sweating and breathing heavily. After introducing myself, I ask them:

–Where are the men of the family?

–There! –they say pointing two hundred metres away.

Yes. There they are, resting under the shade of a tree.

I ask them:

–Why are you not working with the women?

–Because it’s too hot! –they firmly answer.

–Of course… (no more comments).

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