By Apioth Mayom Apioth
Nov 1, 2015(Nyamilepedia) — In our contemporary South Sudanese society, office work is always associated with progress. As a result, people tend to look down on jobs that require manual labor, and many more professions that are seen, having nothing to do with sitting behind an office desk, such as doing entrepreneurial enterprise. In Juba, for instant, an Ethiopian water tanker’s owner, whose business charges 15 SS Pounds per home, could walk away with 3,000 SS Pounds by the end of the day after having visited 200 homes. Meanwhile, a South Sudanese accountant, who obviously sits behind a desk from Monday through Friday, filing business transactions, makes about 900 SS Pounds a month. Furthermore, a whole lot of Bangladeshis are doing road construction, obviously brought over by the NGOs; whereas some of our very own people are going hungry, refusing to make something happen for themselves.
There had been no country in the history of our planet earth, where everyone did office work, and they had actually achieved economic prosperity. In the very office, where we supposedly to do work, running water and the light need to be turn on; and sources of these power outages are operated by a variety of workers ranging from technicians to engineers to environmental scientists: they are also mandated to travel from place to place, surveying their assigned areas, looking for obstacles that may get in the way of their work. These high-salaried workers do their work, even when Mother Nature is nasty outside, pouring hailstorms and what have you. If we are to achieve a substantial economic progress, we rather ought to do what is within our reach and avoid daydreaming about possibilities that are beyond our reach.
South Sudanese as a people have been handicapped by poverty, just like everyone else in sub- Saharan Africa for centuries now since the age of modernity reached our shores; before the dawn of modernity, life was way simpler; some of us were farmers or cattle keepers, and through that, we were able to carve out happy, merry-go-round lifestyles. Life, nowadays, is so expensive that some of us can barely afford to buy a soda bottle. So, from the moment we become able-bodied to do some work, we get so busy with all sorts of preoccupations to make ends meet that at times, we get few opportunities to go to school, or get our hands on some sorts of skills-enhancing vocational trainings. And by the time, we reached age 36, we have almost lived half our lives, and some of us are still working as porters at hotels and lodges.
The reason why we don’t work in professions that we so wish to pursue, is because economic wealth is not spread out in our nation. Culinary art, for example, was exclusively looked upon as a profession of women in the Western World in the centuries past. Nowadays, if you visit a restaurant in the USA, or Norway, there are as many men as women working as chefs. In some restaurants though, men make up about 98% of the culinary art workforce. Culture, along with progressive economies, were the machinations of change behind the shake-up in the culinary art sector. Culture is a set of held habitual practices and opinions that a society endorses from time to time. Culture, unlike politics which may alter it course to a different event at any given moment, is hard to transform into different circumstantial events. Cultural progress seems to follow economic prosperity; once great economic possibilities are achieved, then culture gives way, and become something of a different matter.
South Sudanese, in general, are culturally sensitive to doing menial manual jobs. And that is fine by me; except that we have a crippling nascent poor economy, where resources are stretched thin, and there are scarcity of opportunities to find what we so wish for. If we had a bubbling economy like Australia, every economic sector would be filthy rich, and everyone would get a swipe at whatever position that he/she desires in life. And since we have scarcity of resources here and there, the best way get over our handicap is to make the best out of the few opportunities we may have; that way, we can at least accomplish something for ourselves. Personally, I don’t think there is something wrong with doing menial manual labor. The biggest setback in working as a general laborer, is because there isn’t enough money in it. If porters at Juba
Grand Hotel were paid in million pounds every year; many people would not be able to find any vacancies all-year-round. Besides, doing general labor is practically a good motivational exercise by itself. You constantly move around stretching yourself from corner to another end. You constantly move that way until dusk when the day calls it quit on us, and by the time you reach home, you don’t find it necessary to go to a fitness center, because you have already been through that. Some people wouldn’t like the idea of sitting down in one place all day long, punching words and numbers into the computer, had our culture been tolerable to change of minds and ideologies. In reality, some of us would be totally uncomfortable with not moving our feet every once in a while. Our culture has trained us in a certain way to find certain things culturally unacceptable.
Whatever cultural practices and opinions we may hold in the long run, no one can take away our dignity and gifts of intelligent, which were endowed to us by our creator, God almighty. Whether your friends work at the World Bank, or you have a buddy who is a South Sudanese ambassador to Norway; they reached those stages after being given chances to reach their fullest potentials. And tosome of us, who are doing housekeeping and janitorial cleaning at lodges, we ended up that way, because we didn’t get the resources to go ahead in life. Some of us may hold flashy jobs; however, we are all equal in intelligent.
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