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I'm Here

The sensations of South Sudan

There are 19 of us on this UN World Food Program helicopter flight. We’re hitching a ride on an M8 chopper from Juba to Rumbek. As I strap into my seat, the exhaustion that threatened to overtake me after non-stop travel and minimal sleep is replaced with a buzz of excitement.

I’m almost there.

The engine roars to life, the scorching heat intensifies the smell of diesel and dirt. My soul begins to re-charge. Noise-reducing headphones do little to dull the hum of the engine and the whirling blades. Dust coats my skin and wind rustles my hair. The ride is rough and uneven. All of my senses are heightened. Everything around me is vivid and raw and gritty. And in these things I feel a comfort.

My energy bank is filling up.

I love how the excitement of not knowing what will happen is grounded in the familiar – it’s a combination that is intoxicating.

I close my eyes and rest my head against the seat, absorbing everything. I’m so happy to be back.