Mary is from South Sudan and is over 100 years old – though she’s not sure of her exact age! When she was 30, just after she got married, she was struck by polio – and hasn’t been able to walk since. She has never before had a wheelchair.
Mary has lived not only through the current ongoing war in South Sudan, but also the war for independence from North Sudan – Africa’s longest-running civil war. She lost two of her sons as a result of the conflict, and last year, carried by her remaining children and grandchildren, she fled her country, leaving her whole life behind. She said: “I don’t miss South Sudan, there I saw my friends and sons being killed. And after all I’m just happy to be alive and looking back never helps.”
She is a vibrant, plucky and optimistic woman with a huge smile and a wonderful outlook on life. When we asked her the secret to her happiness, she told us: “Dancing and making love.”