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'We have waited for the flower of freedom': Blood and oil tinge South Sudan's first birthday

Shannon Jensen / AP

A man holds South Sudanese flags as he prepares to dance at the country's anniversary celebrations at the John Garang mausoleum in Juba on July 9, 2012.

Adriane Ohanesian / Reuters

Boys wash a tractor in the Pibor river in Pibor on June 24, 2012. All pictures made available to msnbc.com on July 9, 2012.

Adriane Ohanesian / Reuters

Children sing and dance on a Sunday morning at the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan in Pibor on June 24, 2012.

Reuters reports — South Sudanese celebrating their nation's first birthday on Monday will bask in the pride of their hard-won political freedom, but many may ask when they will enjoy the material benefits promised by the government of former rebels. 

Paula Bronstein / Getty Images

South Sudan's first president, Salva Kiir, stands after placing flowers at the mausoleum for Dr. John Garang during a ceremony celebrating the first anniversary of South Sudan's independence day on July 9, 2012 in Juba.

'Free at last': South Sudan is world's newest nation

South Sudan split from Sudan after a civil war that killed some 2 million people over two decades, becoming the world's newest nation. But the jubilation that saturated the ramshackle capital last year has dimmed.

Slideshow: South Sudan declares independence

"We have waited for the flower of freedom," student Pater Achuil said as he sat in an unfinished building near Juba airport, shards of concrete poking through the capital's skyline behind him. Read the full story.

More images from South Sudan on PhotoBlog

Adriane Ohanesian / Reuters

A boy sets up his shop at a market in Pibor on June 23, 2012.

Adriane Ohanesian / Reuters

A boy works in the corner of a classroom at Pibor Primary School in Pibor on June 25, 2012.

Adriane Ohanesian / Reuters

Cows are seen tied behind a house at sunset in Pibor on June 21, 2012.