In 1971, a Ugandan coup d’état led by General Idi Amin ousted President Milton Obote’s government. After Amin seized power, he began a campaign of brutality against the Ugandan people. This brutality led to the general-turned-dictator’s own overthrow just eight years later in 1979, and Amin soon fled the Ugandan capital of Kampala.
In his absence, Uganda had no central authority and competing coalitions began vying for power. It was the perfect storm.
It was in the midst of this storm that Melissa Wells came to Uganda as the United Nations Resident Representative. When Wells arrived, she was immediately met with danger. Even during simple car rides, she faced car-jackings, roadblocks, and ambushes. In those moments, Wells learned how to keep calm, think quickly, and stay safe during life-threatening altercations. What’s more, she was able to reflect on the role that risk plays in the Foreign Service, in addition to considering how Foreign Service Officers work through fear in order to operate as a cohesive, successful team.