… Naked but for a pair of bangles on his ankles and white dust caking his skin, the four-year-old had collapsed a few steps from a group of starving children sheltering under a tree. It was as if he had been discarded.
Working as a reporter in Africa, it's not uncommon to see people dying. For it to be a child, in a village in southern Sudan, during a drought makes the event even less exceptional. What made this boy different was that just a few weeks before, the world had promised to help.…
All this in what should have been a place of celebration. The northern government in Khartoum and the southern rebels of the Sudan People's Liberation Army had signed a peace deal in January to worldwide applause. On paper at least, Africa's longest civil war was over.
Unlike the relatively young conflict in Sudan's western Darfur region, fighting in the south has raged on an off for almost half a century. But now the country had defied the cynics: peace seemed possible.
Rich countries meeting in Oslo had promised billions of dollars in reconstruction aid only a few weeks before our visit -- but where was the money? Not in Paliang.
Emergency warehouses in neighboring Kenya were empty -- donors had not been willing to buy the necessary food.…
… I passed the boy lying in the dust. A faint movement stirred his ribs: he was breathing. I realized I had been mistaken -- he had not been abandoned -- a woman was sitting a few yards away watching.
Mother and son would starve together.