When the girl was 16, her uncle told her he was taking her to the family village.
Excited about the trip, she packed the few things she had. She thought the plan was to meet relatives and see the birthplace of her father, who died when she was 10.
She didn’t understand yet that in South Sudan, being “taken to village” has another meaning: She would be married off, against her will, to an elderly man she had never met. She would be the newest of his six wives.
“My uncle needed cows,” she explained.
In many communities here in one of the world’s poorest nations, daughters grow up with a single purpose: to be sold into marriage for cows to expand a family’s...