From the first day I arrived to DC, the driver of the shuttle was from Ghana, and we shared the ride with 2 couples who are originally from Ukraine and there was an Atlas Corps Fellow from Ethiopia in addition to us 6 Sudanese fellows. We were all together in that shuttle heading to D.C. This was the first time for me and for Sudanese Fellows to visit US, so we were very excited and we were shockingly impressed by how the city is well developed. The shuttle dropped us at Hosteling International (HI DC). I shared my rooms with people from Bangladesh, Rwanda, Egypt, who were Atlas Corps Fellows as well.
After two weeks of orientation I moved to my house in Warder street, where I am sharing my house with 4 people from 4 counties namely; Pakistan, Egypt, South Korea, and Uganda. I use to call this house a small United Nations.Though we are from different countries and of course from different culture we are living completely in peace and we respect each other culture and believes – sometime we fight over cleaning the house and who didn’t do his/her part but immediately after we reset the rules for cleaning the house we return back stronger friends and housemates.
DC is beautifully diversified city when you walk in the street you will be able to see people from Africa, Asia. Latin America, Eastern Europe and all are contributing in the progress and development of this country peacefully and tirelessly. This is a great lesson for me because in country unfortunately we are struggling with identity issues and we perceive our diversity as a divider rather than a connector which has unluckily resulted in separation of South Sudan and I am afraid if the issue of identify is not well managed by our government and strongly advocated by the civil society organizations will lead to another separation
Now there is a light in the end of the tunnel as our government has finally recognize how the issue of identity is negatively hindering us from growing and realizing our potential. Consequently, the president has called for a national dialogue to solve all our problems including the identity issue.
Since this initiative was launched by the president the national dialogue has encountered ups and downs but still is going on and there are efforts by African Union to convince the opposition leaders to join.
One of the most concrete and important outcomes of this dialogue will be a permanent constitution, as my country since its independence in 1956 has no a permanent constitution and it has been ruled by a temporary constitution.
D.C is model on how diversity can be used to have a very strong country where everyone regardless of his/her color, religion, sex and believes can contribute and get rewarded for his/her excellent job. The harder you work here the better you will be no matter who are you and where are you from.
Sudan is very diversified country with different languages and dialects, some people call it small Africa. I strongly believe that if our diversity is seen as a complementary not a contradictory whereby everyone is complementing the another one shortages, and if we put the country development as our overarching goal we are going to be another America in Africa.
The exposure to this culture and lessons that I am learning in everyday from interacting with American community and observing was made possible through Atlas Corps fellowship. So this is awesome!
P.S; Thanks to Atlas Corps for provide the Muslim fellows with a place where we can do our prayers everyday comfortably.