Alek Wek, an internationally renown supermodel, embarked on a journey with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) towards her homeland South Sudan. Wek was 14-years-old when she vacated South Sudan during the country’s civil war as a refugee in 1991. Last week signified Wek’s inaugural visit to South Sudan since the country gained its complete independence from Sudan. Stylelist recently interviewed Alek Wek about her experience returning to South Sudan.
“How do you feel returning to South Sudan after its independence?”
“It was just so surreal to finally know independence had taken place. It was something that I never thought would really happen as a young child going through the civil war and then coming back and seeing the refugees that had been displaced, and these people that are still displaced. It was just really unbelievable, you could definitely feel it in the air.
Indeed, after long and excruciating years of constant bloodshed, Alek Wek was ecstatic about South Sudan’s independence. The South Sudanese’s perseverance and unity were the driving forces towards their independence. Stylelist also asked Wek about her “most eye-opening experience [during her visit].”
“I met this older lady, about 83 years old or so, and she just got me all choked up. She lost all of her boys, and you would think that not only should she have been retired by now, but her sons should be taking care of her…You would think she would be complaining and she would be absolutely so upset…but she said,’I’m just so thankful and blessed that we have our country now and this is our land. We need our grandchildren to be able to learn enough to be able to lead this nation and to go on to say bless all of us.’ I mean what do you say to that? It was just quite something. Beyond wisdom.”
Alek Wek’s journey back to South Sudan was a momentous occasion in her successful career. Wek’s ability to balance a supermodel career while maintaining political and humanitarian efforts to her home country should be observed as a true testament of her compassionate and humbling character.
If you are interested in Alek Wek’s entire experience in South Sudan, please visit her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AlekWeksJourney
To read Alek Wek’s entire interview with Stylelist, please visit http://www.stylelist.com/2012/07/17/alek-wek-south-sudan_n_1675142.html
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