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Joseph and the Mango Tree

One man shows what it means to be a leader

Joseph was brought to my attention a few years ago. People from his village of Timic walked over two hours every day to collect water, yet despite these challenges, Joseph and his community were determined to improve their circumstances.

Joseph wanted to plant a mango tree. He knew it would feed his family and his village for generations to come. It was his way of ensuring a future for Timic. Every day, Joseph traveled great distances to fetch extra water for his precious mango tree.

The tree grew and began to bear fruit, but Joseph had bigger goals.

He wanted gardens, knowing that they would provide a healthier diet for the community while also offering a source of income for the village when sold at markets. This income could be used to send their children to school or expand the community’s other resources, but nothing could be done without drilling a water well in the village. Water would give Timic the future that Joseph envisioned.

It is because of Joseph’s perseverance that we drilled a water well in Timic, and soon the village was growing abundant gardens to complement the flourishing mango tree. This is a project that the entire village has embraced.

And it all began with Joseph and his mango tree.

Joseph is a visionary thinker and leader. He exemplifies compassion, determination and strength in the face of adversity. For his family, his village and me, Joseph is a hero. He lifted an entire community up through sheer willpower to make life better. If South Sudan (and every other country) had more Josephs, the world would be a safer and happier place.

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