Living and working in a UN camp

Growing up in South Sudan was difficult. The constant fighting is exhausting. It is not an easy life; it is hard, especially when there is conflict.

Growing up in South Sudan was difficult. The constant fighting is exhausting. It is not an easy life; it is hard, especially when there is conflict.

I was studying at Bentiu High School and about to sit my exams for University when the crisis started. When fighting began, I fled to the village where my grandparents lived. But then the fighting spread there too, and we were forced to flee to the Protection of Civilians (PoC) camp in Bentiu. Some of my family stayed behind, but I came here with my wife, my mother and my eldest brother. Living conditions in the camp are uncomfortable. It is a harsh life, difficult to tolerate, but we carry on.

I remember arriving at the PoC for the first time – it was August 2014. I suddenly felt displaced, it is a feeling difficult to describe. I was worried about my friends and the family that I had left behind to get there. Some of them I have not seen or heard from since we were separated. I do not know where they are.

I don’t have a big family. I married in 2013, before the crisis started. I have one child – a little boy - and my wife is currently pregnant with our second. She also works for MSF, as a feeding assistant, helping malnourished children in the hospital.

I started working with MSF in 2014, initially as a medical storekeeper. I had heard of them before I got my job, because they had been working in my country for many years. My family were very excited when I was hired. They are happy that I work for MSF, because they know the good work the organisation does.

Riak with a member of the international MSF team in Bentiu

As a Supply Logistician Assistant, I am the person who orders the medicines for the hospital, the fuel for the cars. I also help to coordinate the supply chain. Medicines, drugs and other supplies are flown into Bentiu by plane from Lokichoggio in Kenya.

I am the person who gets up in the middle of the night to deliver medicines from the storeroom to the pharmacy, if someone is dying and in need of emergency care. It is an important job and at the end of the day, when I go home, I feel joyous.

When my two-year-old son got sick with malaria, I took him to the MSF hospital. He was treated and has now recovered. So I have felt personally the difference that MSF makes.

It is not all perfect, of course. There are challenges. Staff orientation, training and courses for staff are challenging. Training staff is the most important and challenging thing for MSF.

I never leave the PoC – it is too dangerous for me. But also because we are so busy, there is not enough time. Sometimes during emergencies, there can be ruptures in medicines and supplies. It becomes much busier than usual. In July last year, there was a huge outbreak of malaria, and there was also Hepatitis E and measles. Hundreds of people died from malaria. Living and working in the PoC was very difficult during that time.

My favourite part of my job is ordering the drugs and medicines and dispatching them to the pharmacy in the hospital. I know that it is because of me that someone will get the malaria medicine they need.

I chose to work for MSF because they save lives, no matter what your race or religion is. We deliver proper medical aid to the community – my community. MSF doesn’t take sides during times of war. MSF is independent and gets its funding from individual donors.

I feel proud everyday with my work in supply and my commitment to MSF. I have learnt so much since I started in 2014. Because I am South Sudanese, it is easy for me to explain what MSF is, and why we are here, to members of my community.  My biggest worry is peace in South Sudan. I cannot predict what will happen in the future, but I hope there will be peace.

I want to say thank you to all individual and private donors of MSF. Please continue to support us so that we will be able to operate in countries where there is conflict. Your commitment allows MSF to maintain its neutrality, independence and impartiality. Because of your donations, MSF is able to bring medical aid to my people.