Coping with curfew: How 5 expat aid workers manage their restricted lives

Photo by: Felix_Hu

JUBA, South Sudan — It’s been more than four years since United Nations staffer Francesca first set foot in South Sudan. Having arrived in a country ripe with opportunity and flooded with international investment, she came at a time when the world had high hopes for its newest nation.

Lessons for aid workers in South Sudan
In humanitarian aid, conflict zones have long been known as contexts requiring quick thinking and management skills under pressure and with few resources. But few places in the world are as complex and challenging as South Sudan. Expat humanitarians on the ground attribute it to a variety of factors.

“Life before the war is one of the reasons I stayed on this long,” Francesca said, adding that life felt “normal” to the British national.

Francesca, who wished to be identified only by her given name, is one of the few “pre-2013” aid workers left in the country. Before the war, she lived in a house with roommates, and had the freedom to come and go as she pleased.

“There was even good food in Juba,” she said with a nostalgic smile.

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About the author

  • Sam mednick profile

    Sam Mednick

    Sam is a freelance journalist based in South Sudan. Over the past 12 years she’s reported on humanitarian, human interest and conflict stories from around the world. Sam’s work has taken her to the Middle East, Africa, Asia, South America and Europe, writing for VICE, the Associated Press, Devex, Barcelona Metropolitan and iPolitics among others. Sam also produces and hosts the Happy Melly Podcast, interviewing authors, speakers and thought leaders about what it takes to live productive and fulfilling lives.