Vella Mbenna is the author of Muddy Roads Blue Skies: My Journey to the Foreign Service, from the Rural South to Tanzania and Beyond. Vella was born in the Holmestown community of Midway, Georgia, where she grew up with eight siblings and parents who instilled in her the important values that would set her on the path to success.
Throughout her youth, Vella dreamed of escaping small-town USA and traveling the world. In 1989, her dream came true when she was offered a position with the US Department of State – Foreign Service. During her highly successful 26-year career as a diplomat, Vella served with honor in 13 foreign countries as well as two tours in Washington, DC.
It was during her assignment in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania that she met her future husband, whom Vella lovingly proclaims is the best thing to ever happen to her (aside from her son) and forever changed her life for the better. Vella retired from the Foreign Service in 2015. She currently resides on Amelia Island, Florida.