Morning Musa, Sunday Akongo, Stella Night. Susan Ikanga. Vionzy Keji. The MBB Scholars in South Sudan are beautiful young women whose names roll off the tongue like poetry. But many names also tell stories revealing the hardships surrounding their birth:
“I am called Forest because I was born while my mother was running, fleeing the war, and so I came into this world in the thick forest where she was hiding.”
“I am called “Abandoned” because my family abandoned my mother, since the children she birthed previously had died. When I was born no one wanted to come near to help her. Finally, an old woman befriended us and took us into her hut for six months until we were strong….”
“My name means “Substitute” because I was born after my two older siblings died in childbirth…”
My parents named me “Unlucky.” I think my parents chose this name because it was a time of conflict and hunger and so I was one more child to feed.