It was a remarkable evening, with some talented performers and choirs of youth that filled up the front of the venue. But in the end, the stars of the evening were the audience themselves. They had come to realize that, after 10 years of supporting Canadian Aid for Southern Sudan and the many projects being undertaken, the had been part of history being made.

Ten years ago none of them (me included) believed that slavery would end for southern Sudanese – it’s now gone. It was Africa’s longest running and most costly civil war, so how could they know peace would unfold in only a few years and yet it did – the Comprehensive Peace Agreement was signed in 2005. A decade ago there wouldn’t have been one person in that room that would have possibly believed the people of south Sudan would achieve independence by a more gentle means – following a largely peaceful period of preparation, the Republic of South Sudan became the world’s newest nation this past July.

So here’s to a great group of about 300 or so dedicated Canadians who chose to stick together for a decade and be a part of one of the most electric periods of history. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.