Two Years Later…

Two years ago I arrived in South Sudan – sight unseen. I was taking a step on faith that I would be able to handle a new environment and a new job. It was my first time living outside the United States and on top of that, I was starting a new position. I had never even met any of my “future” colleagues in South Sudan. Navigating the Juba airport was a highly stressful and chaotic but I was able to make it outside only to find more chaos. And when I finally emerged from the hot, stuffy airport, there was no IRI car to meet me. However, there were taxis drivers willing to charge me $100 to go less than ten miles. After about fifteen minutes, a late model Toyota Land cruiser rushed into the small dirt parking out and out jumped an American with an IRI sign. I was now safe in the hands of someone who knew how to navigate my new surroundings.

The two years since that moment have brought hills and valleys. But all in all, I have never once regretted my decision. Yes, I miss friends and family back at home in the United States and wished the current situation in South Sudan would never have happened but I have been able to make new friends and deepen existing friendships. I have tried to come up with a way to mark my two year anniversary living outside the United States but I think it’s best to do it in pictures…Enjoy my look back at my brief time in South Sudan.


This was my first view of Juba as my FlyDubai flight was descending into the Juba airport. I wasn’t sure what to expect of my new home.


I had to get use to sleeping under a mosquito net in Juba. Malaria was a constant threat in Juba. Thankfully, I never contracted Malaria during my time in South Sudan. And as you can see, I made sure to bring a piece of home with me – WAR EAGLE!

IMG_2331 IMG_2334  SFB and WP

IMG_2594 IMG_2598 IMG_2874IMG_2871 JN & SFB

The downside of working abroad is that people are constantly coming and going. And then, there is the chance that a conflict breaks out people are forced to flee. That was our case in South Sudan. Sadly, not everyone was able to leave and several IRI staff had run ins with opposing sides of the conflict and forced to find safety in United Nation camps. The last three photos were taking on the last quiet night in Juba – December 14. The following night, gunfire and explosions were heard in various neighborhoods of Juba. Thanks to social media, I am able to keep in contact with most friends from South Sudan.

2 Comments on “Two Years Later…

  1. You never cease to amaze me Sentell, with your bravery and compassion for others. You are such a great writer.

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