I turned 5 in 1989. My daughter, Vanessa, turned 5 earlier this year, in 2016. Also this year, one of the newest countries in the world, South Sudan, turned 5, along with the South Sudanese children who were born the same year as their young country.
Those little girls have known nothing but war in their short lives.
I’m not blind to the struggles of less fortunate people and countries around the world, but it is still eye-opening when you take a look at the differences in our lives.
A while back I did a blog series called “A Look Back” where I posted pictures and information about what was going on in my life, each year since I was born. I looked back at my 1989 post so I could see what my life was like then.
I went to school (nursery school and then Kindergarten). I wore the latest OshKosh fashions. We had the big, chunky Little Tykes playground, picnic table, and sandbox.
For my birthday, my parents got me a cake in the shape of a Cabbage Patch Doll head (not sure if that was their creativity or my own personal request, but either way yeah it was a little odd). We went on vacation to Disney World and Sea World. I wore a pretty dress for a Little Miss pageant. And for Christmas, I got a Walkman, the latest in music technology.
Life was good.
Vanessa loves to play with her Disney princess dolls. She is a very good reader for her age and will often sit and read her favorite books to herself. She is a whiz on the iPad and computer and regularly plays games on both. She also wears the latest OshKosh fashions, enjoys a pretty pink princess room, and is excited to attend Kindergarten in a few short weeks.
Life is good.
Another girl turned 5 this year in South Sudan. Nyahok was born into peace in her brand-new country, in 2011, but in 2013 war broke out, and that’s all she remembers. Her home was burned down in 2014, and she became one of 2.3 million South Sudanese who have lost their homes.
Nyahok does not have clean water to drink, so she and the other kids drink dirty water. Her favorite game is mixing dirt with water and pretending she’s cooking food. Her family doesn’t have any money to send her to school, so she doesn’t go. South Sudan has the highest proportion of girls who aren’t in school of any country.
The differences are astonishing. I’m definitely left grateful for the luxuries my family has, and heartbroken for these young girls who don’t.
I invite you to help South Sudan and Nyahok celebrate their 5th birthdays by making a donation to CARE.org. $150 provides full nutritional support to a malnourished child. $70 provides a family with a crop kit so they can begin growing food again.
If you’re not able to make a donation of your own, help me make mine. By clicking on the links in this post and learning more about South Sudan’s struggle, you’ll be helping me raise a donation, as I’ll be donating half of my compensation for writing this post and sharing CARE’s mission.