My work as a driver taught me courage and strength under pressure

By Piok Kuol, Melut and Renk Operations Driver

I love my work in World Vision. I am a driver but I also get to assist on activities such as distribution of food and nutrition supplies. I can feel I am part of the teamwork that makes things happen in the communities.

Sometime in 2015, heightened insecurity in Melut County prompted the evacuation of most of the staff in Juba. Along with few staff, I remained to help secure important assets. As fast as I could, I drove all the cars to the compound of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in Melut for safekeeping.

I also loaded on them some of the office equipment before the office was eventually seized. For a week, we stayed in suspense at the UNMISS bunker until we were safe enough to be evacuated to Juba.

Driving in the rugged and unsafe roads of South Sudan, Piok makes sure the vehicle is in good condition all the time.

This experience has inspired me to keep working all my life with World Vision. Driving in the remote areas in South Sudan is never easy. One day, I was driving back the team to the office from a field activity in Renk when the car got stuck in the mud in Jilhak . I got concerned because there was no phone network and the area was considered dangerous.

All of us got terrified and we all helped to get the car out. After an intense struggle with everyone helping, we were able to drive back at around 1:00 in the morning. In another incident, our boat delivering the supplies to Kaka suddenly stopped working while in the River Nile. I did my best to slowly navigate it towards the riverbank and called another boat to tow us all the way near the office where we usually park it.

These were important memories at work that I really treasure. I learned a lot from these experiences, especially having courage under pressure. I am now 28 years old and the longest serving driver in World Vision's Melut office. I started in 2014 as a casual driver and became a regular after five months. I am the second in the family of eight and I plan to have a business to help support my parents and siblings.

As the longest-serving driver of World Vision's Melut office, Piok shared how his journey as a driver make him a better person.

Before I worked with World Vision, I was wondering how I would marry because I cannot afford to pay for my dowry. A man in South Sudan needs to save for not less than 30 cows, excluding the expenses during the ceremony. One needs to save and prepare for it.

After working and saving for sometime, I was able to marry my wife, Ayak Mayien and was blessed with a baby girl we named Lillian after World Vision’s Operations Director Lillian Mumbi. My wish someday she will become like her leading World Vision’s work.