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The Diary of Anna Sambo: Millions are Displaced

AVSI continues to publish the testimony of Anna Sambo, AVSI’s project coordinator in South Sudan. Her free flowing reflections jump from practical considerations to heartfelt observations. They speak of her life in Africa as an aid worker and of her growing awareness for the importance of her work. Here you will find one of the latest entries. 


April, 1st 2014

South Sudan Anna Sambo2 260x190Monday morning, the end of March.  I wake up.  There is a cloud over the roof of the house across from me.  It seems that the rains have really come.  I wonder:  What does this have to do with anything?  What does what isn't here, who isn't here, immediately at hand and in sight, have to do with anything? 

Last week, they wrote that the negotiations in Addis had begun again, looking for a ceasefire.  At meetings, those who come back from destroyed places scream their requests for intervention. But it seems like words in the wind.  Well, I say, we have to do something.  But how?

Giorgio, a representative from another NGO, said that they are not able to send the material for projects that they have in Ayod, north of Bor, Jonglei.  They were there, but two days later the army blocked the passage.  "We are in the rebel zone." "They are all Nuer."  "We have to try to find the most peaceful places, we will not be able to do it there."  The inaccessibility, the impossibility of movement, geographical obstacles are beyond our control.  There is so much rain and mud that the roads are impassable.  There is no way.  You have to await.You have to put aside the idea of being able to do what you planned.  The limits here are so obvious that they are the actors in this story.

The alarm sounds:  the rains come, a million displaced people, three million others at risk.  Unreachable towns.  Remote places.  But if you stop to think of it, you know this is a nomadic people, used to being on the move.  Nothing earth-shattering. The normality of poverty, of precariousness, of markets empty of food.Yet at Sunday Mass they said:  "We, the people of the referendum for independence, the people of freedom, we destroyed three cities (Bor, Malakal, Bentiu) in three weeks.  Where will we go?"  Apparently at peace, the inspections continue in their houses.  They took the arms away.  We don't know where they took them.  Until that happens, it's a matter of waiting.


(Originally published on  by Sharon Mollerus)


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