Blogs from Juba, South Sudan, Africa


Africa » South Sudan » Juba November 4th 2013

Do you remember all the stories in the Bible about planting seeds and getting a good harvest? This morning Karen and I saw some of the seeds that were planted on Saturday begin to sprout. While Ellen spent the morning with the 2 and 3 year olds that she cared for this past month, Karen and I observed three teachers teach the baby class (the preschool hours are 9-11, and the teachers rotate to the three groups for 40 minutes each, teaching reading, writing, and numbers). In the first class that we observed, the teacher had a pair of students model a strategy called "rally coach," in which one student has a problem to solve and the other coaches him/her to get the answer. This was done on a very basic level by one student holding ... read more

Africa » South Sudan » Juba November 2nd 2013

Today was the day that Ellen, Karen and I have been preparing for. We had said we were coming to South Sudan to do teacher training. But the school director, Ben Opwonya, wisely pointed out that we would be doing teacher sharing because all of us in that room were teachers. That set the stage for us to share that we, as teachers in the US, wanted to share how we had to change our style of teaching over the years so we could better engage the students in their education. For example, I shared that I had started teaching in1968, and that in those days a principal thought a teacher was doing a good job if all the students were sitting quietly at their desks and the only voice heard was that of the teacher. ... read more

Africa » South Sudan » Juba October 31st 2013

Do any of you remember the old Bing Crosby and Bob Hope series of movies called "the road to..." Well, settle in for "The Non-Road to Terekeka !" Our flight from Addis Ababa to Juba seemed longer than its two hours because it was a small (about 50passengers) prop plane that was pretty crammed full and quite noisy, at least to those of us over the wings. So we were very glad to land, stretch our legs and have lunch at the Bistro, a restaurant that had fans, flush toilets, and many American items like pizza or burgers. I wanted something cool,so I had a delightful watermelon smoothie and a garden salad packed with fresh veggie. After a few errands, we started the 53 mile trip of torture. The three of us sat on bench seats ... read more

Africa » South Sudan » Juba January 22nd 2012

My friend and colleague Robert Lindley is in Juba , South Sudan tackling the fisheries industry. Here are his musings on surviving and getting about in a town that is booming and said to be the fastest growing in Africa. My take is that Bob demonstrates the sterling English qualities and values that won us an Empire (which included Sudan, by the way); great to see that spirit still exists. Surviving Juba Robert H. Lindley in Juba, South Sudan After peace (apparently) broke out and South Sudan achieved its independence last year there has been a huge influx of rich and poor returnees from the South Sudan diaspora, and the creation of a vast aid industry with almost every NGO, UN Agency and country aid body represented. This expansion has led to an accommodation crisis at ... read more
BodaBoda Bob
Fishy Tales of the Nile
A Great Bus System

Africa » South Sudan » Juba December 13th 2011

Most people don’t associate Sudan with tourism, or would ever consider going there on holiday. In fact, few people have heard little about the divided nation except stories of tribal violence and the ongoing crisis in Darfur. But since the recent referendum that voted overwhelmingly in favour of secession, the world’s newest country will be created on July 9th, and with it, whole range of opportunities. Travel writer and photojournalist Levison Wood explains his reasons for visiting the soon-to-be Republic of South Sudan, prior to its independence and what it can offer the intrepid traveller. “We couldn’t even drink beer here until 2005” says Charles, a beaming Dinka tribesman from Juba, the dusty capital of this former rebel stronghold. “Sharia law, imposed by Khartoum, meant t... read more

Africa » South Sudan » Juba March 22nd 2011

I just had to share this photo. It's not very well focused because it was a snapshot and my little friend was in motion. But I think this kid is simply awesome. I work in development and I'm now in South Sudan which, after a recent referendum, has decided to become an independent country. Hopefully this will end years of conflict with the predominantly Muslim North. There was a so-called Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, but things won't stabilize until after independence later this year. I get very - VERY - cynical about this business, but this fellow reminded me what it should be about - and all too often isn't. If we can set someone like this bright spark on the right track, then perhaps (to quote a senior and rather bitter colleague) it will ... read more

Africa » South Sudan » Juba October 21st 2010

JUBA the capital of southern Sudan is a good 728 km from Kampala, however the buzz around town makes you feel like you at home; with almost every consume-able commodity bearing the label “made in Uganda”. However the only disappointment is the exorbitant price charged by the traders - almost five times the rate of your average shop back home! Research carried out reveals that Southern Sudan is amongst the most expensive regions/countries to live in; (imagine paying 700 Ug shs to photocopy a paged document!, services that cost 100 shs back in Uganda) . Whilst in their defense they claim that S. Sudan being a landlocked region, procures all goods like foods, construction materials, office stationery, electronics etc from Uganda or Kenya, and future more traders have to incur high transportation cost and double taxations ... read more

Africa » South Sudan » Juba October 21st 2009

With barely a day to catch my breath, debrief, and plan the next leg of my trip, I was right back at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, checking in on East African Airways, en route to Juba, the capital of South Sudan. "Safari njema" ("Have a good journey"), Samuel, the gregarious Merlin driver with a smile as big as all outdoors exclaimed as I made my way through the customs line... Once inside the main cabin, it struck me -- I was the only Caucasian on the flight. It didn't make a difference to me (and I'd like to think that this indifference was shared by the other passengers), but it was the first time I had actually noticed it since having set foot on the continent. Surely, it wasn't the first of such situations on ... read more
Turbulent times
Merlin compound in Juba
Sunday escape on the Nile

Africa » South Sudan » Juba December 21st 2008

South Sudan is a very friendly place, but as many of you know this is just a recent development. For many decades Sudan was committing genocide, and in the Darfur region today the genocide continues. We flew into Juba in South Sudan. Because there is so much UN money in Southern Sudan it is very expensive. We stayed in a hotel that costed 180 dollars for one room. It was extremely basic, and the place was not nice. It was located on the Nile which was very cool. We left early in the morning to do some shopping in the market for the village we would be visiting. We bought 15 bicycles, cookware, and lots of other stuff Craig brought along from Seattle. After shopping we took a 4 hour car ride to Bor. The road ... read more

Africa » South Sudan » Juba June 17th 2008

The plan was to stay two nights in Juba, and then to depart to my main destination in this trip: my fieldwork in Pagak, a small locality along the Sudanese-Ethiopian border. But in this business, things rarely work as they are supposed to. Pagak, on the Upper Nile region is in the middle of the rainy season, and I was told, after three hours waiting at the airport, that the plane was cancelled due to bad weather in the area. Now, it is not Sudan Airways, or Continental, that was going to take me to Pagak. The carrier to these remote destinations is the Humanitarian Air Services of the World Food Programme, or HAS-WFP. I have the joy of knowing many great people working for WFP, both in Rome and on the field. I like the ... read more
Mike and Ivette at the night of the 6 tequila shots
Sunday Brunch, Juba style!
More Juba roads, on the way to Jebel

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