Former New Bedford High Valedictorian Fleeing Khartoum
KHARTOUM, SUDAN — Former New Bedford resident and 2008 New Bedford High School valedictorian Lakshmi Parthasarathy is fleeing Sudan's capital city of Khartoum, where she was staying when violence between political factions broke out over a week ago.
Since then Parthasarathy has been documenting her experience as an American "trapped in Khartoum" on social media, showing people fleeing the city, shops emptied of necessities, and widespread power outages as well as bombs and gunfire.
In an update posted publicly to her Facebook stories on Monday, April 24, Parthasarathy said she plans to flee by hitchhiking out of the city.
According to BBC News, a power struggle between the army and a paramilitary group called the Rapid Support Forces shocked many when fighting kicked off in Khartoum the morning of Saturday, April 15.
The violence has continued since then, with the U.N. estimating that at least 427 people have been killed as of Sunday and countries around the world evacuating their citizens.
Parthasarathy — who has been traveling the world for years, according to her social media — graduated at the top of her class at New Bedford High School in 2008.
She went on to earn a computer science degree from Harvard University and later worked at Google.
In the first week of fighting, she posted a public social media reel showing what it's like under fire — sometimes literally — in the capital.
She shows empty market fridges, power outages, people fleeing the city on foot with luggage — and documenting the kindness of strangers along the way.
Parthasarathy also this week posted a reel documenting her stay in Sudan before the violence broke out, showing life in the previously peaceful city.
Set to music, it's a compilation video showing camels and sunsets, birds flying over the city, fresh fruit, a girl giggling — typical travel fare that stands in stark contrast to the current situation, or as Parthasarathy says, "before all hell broke loose."
Her latest post is a simple story showing white text on a black background, stating that she intends to flee Khartoum today by hitchhiking.
Due to the power outages and internet blackouts, she says, she will likely not be posting updates until she makes it out safely.