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Education verses western marriage

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Today I found out that I have been rejected. I tried so many times, applying to not one or two scholarships but twenty, and guess what? I got rejected by all of them. Sometimes I wonder if I deserve it or it's just how life is. Life has perpetually humbled me to the point where sometimes I cry my eyes out, or I am dumbfounded and retreat just to get my mind in check and not go crazy and other times, I just keep quiet and let the storm pass. But where is my silver lining? Do not get me wrong, it's not that am acting entitled or that I think am more deserving than others, it's just that I really wish things would work out for me, just for once. I crave joining the university and getting a degree like any other person. I reduced my expectations a year ago to a diploma and luck is really not mine. So I came to learn that even a certificate is worth something as opposed to sitting at home and waiting on well wishers to help me get back to school. I have undergone several trainings and received my certificates.

It is good to have several plans in life, they said. If education does not work for you, what are your plans? they asked. The thing is, education was my only plan. And now am here seated listening to my aunties plant the idea of marriage inside my head. It's not just any ordinary marriage, it's a western world kind of marriage. A wedding gown, a ring, a possible visa and to top it up, a European based South Sudanese man. The age part doesn't really matter, they said, he just has to be well loaded. I am not for the idea but if you are a South Sudanese girl like me, then you are well aware that your life decisions are not yours to make. Especially when the remix between your uncles and aunts happens and they pitch the idea of a get rich quick scheme to your parents. So I watch them create me a Facebook account, I did not have one or rather I did not see the need of having one. I was oblivious of the fact that it was the market where auctioning happens. You being from a well- known reputable family makes the sell more expensive and increases the number of suitors. Your height and beauty doubles the price. And lastly if you can cook, not talk back, stay indoors, respectably cover yourself, hide all your nyash (buttocks) from other men, then you are the jackpot. Keeping the yoke in tact only for the chosen one is the most important thing. After my Facebook account was created, came the photograph session, after all they can't buy what they can't see. My photos made a couple of rounds on social media, not bare but with very eye catching captions. Of course not making it obvious that it is a quest to find me a husband. Then the thirsty men fell into the trap, they began asking for my hand in marriage but the goal was to bag the money so all the people who came to negotiate with nothing but love and a few coins were blocked with immediate effect. The young men who were recent graduates from varsity and had no jobs were also rejected. And the men residing in Juba were told they had nothing to offer.

I hated every single thing that was going on but speaking up meant my mother did not raise me well. It would also earn her backlash and a few blue black beatings. The auction continued and intensified, they now expanding to TikTok where a live recording happened as I am told to do things like cooking akob, walwal, kisra, Mula kombo and the rest. The greatest way to a man's heart was through the stomach, but I didn't want anything to do with a man let alone being in his heart. I wanted to be at his finger nails so he could reject me and save me of this misery. The auctioneers gave their bids and the highest bidder won. An eighty years old man for that matter, he ticked all the set qualifications of being rich, living in Europe and the rest. He had sons and daughters older than myself and needed someone to take care of him in his old era. So I was disposed off. The wedding happened when he came to Kakuma and when I tell you this man couldn't even stand without aid. But money made my family members blind, deaf and even mute. I was taken to my alleged husband's house and that is where I am now residing. My biggest task being that of taking care of him under extreme scrutiny from his other five older wives and children. And they all remind me with no fail that I was disposed off and should never have high expectations of a change in my life. My relatives only pick up my calls to ask me when I will be sending them money. I can not complain because I am not allowed to. And I should laugh through my misery since a rich man's joke is always funny. I find no purpose in living.

Sadly, this is the reality for most of the South Sudanese girls who have either not gone to school or have stopped schooling for various reasons such as lack of school fees. The uncles and aunts will not help clear your fees but will have the audacity to find you a husband. Your parents will not see the injustices done to you because of the bragging rights they have obtained in society as a result of your marriage. Your siblings will not speak for you because they can now enjoy the privileges of rubbing shoulders with the rich. And you will always be dependent on the husband and his family. They give you just enough to ensure you don't think outside the box and find out that it's a scheme, a charade. Your rights are limited by he who holds your power.

So my question is what if God had given me just one scholarship? Would my life be less than the hell I am currently living? Rejection is redirection they say, but I wish I was redirected to a class room, a university which would make me become a lawyer and fight the injustices thrown at me and the female gender at large by dystopia.

~By Sarah

Communication and Research officer.

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1 Comment

This is the Most Impressive Inspirational story in the form of an article that impressed me today! Sarah Kuony's story is a powerful testament to the strength within her. In the face of rejection, she exhibits resilience, facing societal pressures and the unjust auctioning for marriage.

It's disheartening to witness the struggles she endures, a reflection of systemic issues affecting many South Sudanese girls. Sarah's courage in sharing her story highlights the need for change, for education to be a pathway, not a privilege. Let's rally behind her, raising our voices to dismantle the societal norms that perpetuate such injustices.

Sarah, your strength is inspiring, and your story fuels the urgency for reform and empowerment. 💪📚 #StandWithSarah #EducateGirls

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