Welcome Home


It’s been a long time since I have blogged and for that I apologize. In my line of work, when things become complicated, it is often easier to just get stuck in than air the details on an open forum. It’s ultimately better for my job too as everyone is monitored all the time. So, let me get you, my dear readers- if you are still there, up to speed.

I have now been working in my Sudan position for over 2 1/2 years and lived in Khartoum for two years. I traveled to areas like Abyei and Darfur, learning about the amazing Sudanese people and what they need to live a full life. I was part of 5 emergency responses within my first 6 months there and learned quickly how to do my job in an emergency context. The past 2 1/2 years have been a buzz. I have been constantly overwhelmed and managed the best that I could… my brain for over two years has been on overdrive. And now, I am home…

Home, what a funny word… there is so much that is implicit in this tiny little word. It implies safety, family, constancy, and so many other things. For a world traveler, aid worker, journalist, etc you learn to do without these things. You learn to expect a lack of safety, to never be constant except constantly traveling, and most of the time you are alone. You steel yourself against the thoughts of family that may come creeping into your mind late at night, the things that you are missing. The friends you grew up with are all married and have children. You are in a context where this is impossible… you can’t even imagine how you would even meet someone, let alone allow yourself such a conventional dream as to become a parent. Then all of a sudden you are plucked out of this place and are back with your family, the house you grew up in, and some of your friends from childhood (albeit for a short time.) The juxtaposition of these two extremes, so fresh in your mind is a daunting thing to process. Going from the store in Sudan where there are limited options of groceries to buy to the stores here where I have 20 different options for salad dressing and what feels like a million different options for toilet paper alone. The consumerism and capitalism here is overwhelming, but it’s home and there is something solid about all of this.

Then, of course I never stay put, I am moving in about a week and a half to Atlanta to begin another Master’s Degree. This one will be a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) at Emory University. All of this with the goal of providing better, more informed, emergency health and nutrition programming in emergencies once I am done with school. You know I have to get back out at it. That is a little over two years from now though. What will Atlanta be like? What will studying for my MPH be like? Will it be really difficult, will it conquer me or will I enjoy it? I don’t quite know, but I do have now my constant companion. I have my little Sudanese cat named Maafi Mushkala (“No Problems” in Arabic) and brought him back with me to stay here in the States. He is a sweetheart, but sort of wild too. He’s really the perfect reflection of me in cat form and I bet that’s why I love him so much. It will be great to have him on this Atlanta adventure with me.

Well, honestly that is about it for me… I have 6 business days left of work with the employer I’ve worked for 7 years, move to Atlanta, and then let the fun begin. Life is an adventure. I love that. More blogging now that I am States side. I promise!!

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About larasmartin

I'm 31 years old, originally from Florida. This blog is meant to be uplifting and part of a journey. Won't you join me?
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2 Responses to Welcome Home

  1. Peggy says:

    Nice to see this part of your life. It sounds wonderful!

  2. I saw your references to Maafi and wondered. My first cat came with base housing at DLI – the linguist who had lived in the house we got when we got married left him when she went on for secondary training, and we started feeding him before we knew it was his house before it was ours. He was the epitome of polite, refused to eat ham or bacon, and seemed to have a regal air (don’t all cats?). We named him ‘Abdallah Mustafa Ibn-al-Malik.

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