Huge challenges lie ahead. Martha’s family will need to find land to settle, work out how to earn some money, and adjust to a new way of life.
They are returning to one of the least developed regions on Earth: eighty percent of adults cannot read or write, and there are few paved roads, schools, and health clinics. Less than half the population has access to safe drinking water.
Martha told me her husband, a soldier, died in the fighting. They used to be farmers, she said. She’d long ago forgotten that way of life and had no idea how she would earn a living and feed her family.
“It’s been a long time,” she said with a sigh. “I don’t even know the village where I used to live… if anything still exists.”
“You cannot compare life in the north to here. Khartoum is more developed, but things were not easy for us. I’m happy to be back, even though we have no house and no job,” she said.
“I want my children to go to school. To live in peace and not experience the difficulties we had. To live a better life in the future.”