HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SOUTH SUDAN: July 9th marked the 1-year anniversary of independence for the country of South Sudan. A week earlier the US celebrated its 236th birthday, and I couldn't help but wonder what South Sudan will be like after 235 more years....For now, along with the hope and joy that independence brought, there is still considerable struggle. Inflation rages. Border bombings from the North claim lives. Tribal differences flare into violence. Trained teachers, doctors and other professionals are few and far between. Nevertheless, the people sing and rebuild. Here we see the students at Valentino Achak Deng Secondary School--where Mercy Beyond Borders supports 10 girls on full scholarship--hefting heavy logs to build a fence for the school. Everyone pitches in. After all, they're building a new country from scratch!