Abyei Sudan

As I have written about before, while working in the Abyei region of Sudan I sporadically stayed at the MercyCorps compound, formerly the compound for UNDP workers before Misseriya mujahideen swept through in 2008 and nearly destroyed it on their way through the town. As a result, because the Abyei referendum which would determine if it would return to the south or remain a part of the northern state of South Kordofan and the Misseriya among others were furiously against this, MercyCorps was reluctant to allow non-vital foreigners, especially ones with a political mandate, to stay in their walls.

One day while staying there, I restlessly walked around the relatively small and empty compound looking for things to document. This compound, unlike others I had stayed in, had as walls actual walls which were freshly fortified and new vicious shards of broken glass cemented into the tops then covered in barbed wire. I took this photo while standing on top of a mound of dirt left over after someone dug a hole to put a waste removal system. Through the defense elements of the wall, you can see beyond homes. A Sudanese employee of MercyCorps saw me photographing over the wall and evidently thought I was taking pictures of these very dilapidated homes, unusually poor in quality. When I turned to see what he was uttering in very broken English, I saw a serious scowl on his face and understood. In reality, though, they were not the subject of why I was shooting. Interestingly, a week later we got a new translator and it was his home that I was unintentionally photographing.

To see more from South Sudan, click here to go to a full portfolio.

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