Vella “Scott” Mbenna, the youngest daughter of Norman and Helen Scott of Holmestown, has been living and working abroad as a U.S. Foreign-Service diplomat for the past 22 years.
She and her family have traveled the world and lived and worked in 11 countries. Her last assignment in Khartoum, Sudan, allowed her to take part in and witness the birth of a new nation, the Republic of Southern Sudan.
Mbenna said the Sudan assignment was enjoyable because her brother, United Nations Diplomat Rudolph Scott, also was working in the Darfur, Sudan, region, which is an hour-long flight away from the capital city of Khartoum, where Mbenna worked. The two spent as many holidays as they could together in Khartoum.
“For Thanksgiving, my brother would bake the turkey and cook the lamb and I would make the veggies and sweets,” Mbenna said. “It was a lot of fun and very comforting to be in such a troubling part of the world with family.”
Mbenna completed her assignment in Khartoum last October. She now is working at the Department of State headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Mbenna’s husband, Francis, who also is a U.S. diplomat, currently is assigned to a U.S. embassy overseas.
“Working in two different continents is hard, but as U.S. diplomats, we must go where duty calls,” she said.
Mbenna said she is looking forward to spending more time with her son and grandson while relaxing and being a U.S. diplomat’s spouse as Francis continues his career in the foreign service. The couple looks forward to the day when they can both retire and return to Liberty County.
“What a blessed and wonderful day that will be for Francis and I,” Mbenna said.
For now, though, Mbenna said she is glad to be back in the states for awhile, even though she misses the challenges and rewards of living and working abroad for the U.S. government.