> Departure: Warrap State, South Sudan
> Arrival: Kampala, Uganda
> Distance: 940km
Victor Ngor Majok Ngor, who already has a diploma in business administration, is enrolled in software engineering at an institute for computer training in Kampala.
He postponed visiting his former home in South Sudan when conflict broke out more than two years ago, deciding instead to focus on his studies in software engineering.
But he hopes to return. “My main achievement will be graduating, then I’ll head straight home to work. I love South Sudan and am proud to be South Sudanese,” he says. “If only we can work through our challenges.”
Ngor, the son of a South Sudanese business man, pays US$1,800 annually for his education at the APTECH Computer Education school. “This money could be paid to our own institutions if we had quality ones,” he says. “It’s sad that many of us are studying outside South Sudan as our leaders struggle for power. This will not help us.”
Corruption, which has affected the provision of services and wealth distribution, is one of the major hurdles he sees for his nation. World Bank figures indicate that South Sudan is one of the most corrupt countries in the world and is still struggling to achieve basic services like the provision of water, health, and education.
Ngor has had first-hand experiences of his country’s difficult transition to independent statehood. During an internship in 2012, Ngor worked with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) police as a language assistant, where he says he witnessed the deep-seated problems facing the force. “What I saw was a great will to study but a deep inability to learn,” he says. “Some were unable to read or even write.”
Figures from the United Nations show that only 27 percent of South Sudanese are literate, largely an inheritance from the country’s extended civil war.
His stint in the Ugandan capital is the most recent of a string of moves for Ngor, whose biography reflects his country’s turbulent recent history. Born in 1986 in Warrap State, he moved to Koboko, a district in northern Uganda bordering South Sudan, when he was 15 amid the raging civil war. After spending five months in the town of Koboko, Ngor once again felt his safety was on the line, so he moved to the Rhino refugee camp in northwestern Uganda in 2001.
Outside the classroom, Ngor organises concerts in Kampala, arranging for South Sudanese musicians to travel from Juba to perform. He lives with his five siblings in the capital city where services are affordable compared to the spiralling costs of everyday life in his home country. He feels settled, he says, at least for the time being.