Photo credit: IOM/Muse Mohammed
Achol is a local resident in Malakal town, South Sudan. Achol was originally from Jonglei State before coming to Malakal several years ago to work as a nurse. “Malakal was such a nice place before the war,” she recalls. Like most within the town, she fled with her family of 11 to the nearby UN peacekeeping base, a protection of civilians (PoC) site, when fighting erupted in South Sudan in December 2013.
Once Achol and her family were able to safely enter the UN compound, she was able to find work as a midwife at a clinic in the site. “Life became normal again. Well, as normal as it could be. I could work and provide for my family,” Achol remembers.
What small semblance of a normal life that Achol had would unravel in late February 2016 when ethnic fighting erupted in the site and she and her family found themselves on the wrong side of the conflict.
Achol was faced with the hard choice to leave the PoC site following the clashes due to her family’s ethnicity.
Now living in a decrepit church compound with other South Sudanese from the Dinka tribe, Achol and her family are forced to readjust in their temporary accommodations. “Even though I am out here, there is still a huge need for a nurse but it is difficult to work without supplies” she stresses. “I delivered three babies in the past week.”
Now her focus is building a future in Malakal town. “I can’t go back to the PoC site, but, honestly, I don’t want to go anywhere else. Malakal is my home. Besides, I am needed here and I want to help.”