Published: June 7th 2007June 7th 2007
June 6, 2007 - Enroute to Juba, then Torit...
10 years ago today, I was sworn into the Canadian Forces. Since then I have been lucky enough to have my work take me to almost every rovince in Canada, including the Arctic. I have also been lucky enough to spend some time in Sicily, San Diego, Hawaii, and Scotland. Now I will call Torit my temporary home for about 5 months...
I checked onto the UN flight with almost 280 lbs worth of gear, and that was after I "trimmed down" the amount of stuff I was taking. yikes.
I had the chance to speak with a Norwegian officer who had been an UNMO in Torit. He explained that clean water was not a problem, and shopping in the market for dry goods like bread, beans and rice is not a problem. He said accommodation was no problem, but electricity will likely only be available for a few hours each night, as it will be provided by generator.
The UN camp itself has accommodations, however; many foreign officers prefer to live as cheaply as possible, in order to maximize their earnings while on deployment. It is not unusual for some officers to make more from the UN in 2 months than they make in an entire year at home. It's all relative I guess. If you can live well on $4000/year in your home country, why would you need $40,000?
The cost to stay in camp is about $30/day but that includes 24-hour electricity, air conditioning, and the comfort of having security. This does remove you from living in the village, but I think that I will ease into it. If indeed I find a suitable place in the village, I can always move in later. I thikn having international roomates would be nice, but in some houses they sleep 3 per room in order to save money, and that does not interest me AT ALL.
I will have to cook/prepare food for myself each day... so that is going to be an exercise in culinary skill. I expexct a lot of rice, beans, and maybe a little goat, if I can time the purchase of the meat right. The butchers stalls are all open-air here, and no matter how hungry I get, something about meat hanging in the open air makes it unappealing.
Taking pictures in the South is not a problem like it is in Khartoum. Up until now, I have felt more like I have been in the Middle East than Africa, and now I feel like I will be experiencing what Africa is really like.
Sickness and disease are always in the back of my mind, and apparently cholera, meningitis, and even leprosy are present down here, along with the ever-present threat of malaria. Good times.
Well I think it's only about 160 days till I go home, and only about 70 days until I see Laura again. phew...