Juba, South Sudan

I’ve been in Juba, South Sudan for nearly 6 weeks now but have been so busy with work that I’ve not had time to prepare any blog posts or reply to many personal emails. I like my work as a logistician here, but the days (and nights) are very long and it’s difficult to spend much time away from the office.

On Wednesday, as I came out of the United Nations World Food Programme office here in Juba, I walked right into this:

Zebu cattle in Juba

Standing in the middle of the road as dozens of zebu cattle with massive horns walk directly toward me, it dawned on me that this might seem strange to some of my friends and family. For me, it just seemed normal, another nice photo opportunity for the point-and-shoot that’s always in my pocket.

Last night, a couple of recently arrived friends went to a local watering hole (a bar, not an actual watering hole) and when they returned one of them recounted how he had been surprised to see men with very large guns at the door, positioned there in order to ensure that the other men with large guns don’t try to join the Saturday night crowd inside.

Funny how these things seem perfectly normal to many if not most of us here and in other areas where humanitarian workers are posted.

7 Comments

  1. Amber Hadley October 10, 2010 at 15:37 #

    Hi, you may have already posted this somewhere in your blog but what point and shoot do you use? Your photos are lovely and it’s interesting to read about your life and work. thanks!

  2. The PhotoDiarist October 13, 2010 at 12:44 #

    Hi Amber, I mostly use a nearly 2 year old Canon PowerShot SD1100IS which takes excellent shots, and occasionally my drop-proof Olympus Stylus 850 SW which takes far inferior photos. When it’s not terribly inconvenient, I use my Canon EOS 30D dSLR camera with either my Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 L II USM lens or my Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens. Any of the Canon PowerShot point and shoots are great and if you’re in North America you’re almost guaranteed to find them at a good price on Boxing Day (if you can wait that long).

  3. an van gossum November 6, 2010 at 05:49 #

    Hi, i’m An from Belgium and married an Sudanees from the Bari tripe . I wend to Sudan for the first time in 2005, just in the periode before the pease agreement , we use to visit are family every year in Lanya , so I used to all this guns stories , but we as europenes don’t feel really safe , but more scary with this vieuws, no? I see a lot on SSTV -sateliette , but ask my selve everyttime , that the situation with the referendum is safe to bringh the kids 8 & 9 years old over to visit the family in Juba & Lanya? What do you think???£

    REGARDS
    aN

  4. The PhotoDiarist November 6, 2010 at 07:43 #

    Hi An, Juba right now is very safe for visiting. I would recommend visiting soon, instead of waiting until December or January when there is more likelihood of problems, especially as Southerners move from the North or from Darfur back to Southern Sudan. Right now, everything is still very calm in Juba and in Lainya area on the road to Yei. The news on BBC and CNN about Southern Sudan is mostly trying to show something that people want to see on TV – soldiers and guns and all that. If you’ve been to Lainya before, then you will not have any problems going now. If you want to visit after the referendum, you will need to wait a couple months to see how things go – the referendum may go very well, but unmet expectations of Southerners in the months afterwards, when they are still living in difficult conditions, may result in problems between different ethnic groups and the Dinka-dominated government.

  5. Laura C February 27, 2011 at 17:41 #

    Hi,
    Is it safe to come to Juba, now or do you think that is would be safer after July 9th?

  6. The PhotoDiarist March 1, 2011 at 00:26 #

    Hi Laura,

    Juba is quite safe right now. It’s impossible to say what might happen as July 9th approaches, but for the moment it’s relatively safe. I even met a few tourists in Juba, including one couch surfer!

  7. Maureen December 28, 2011 at 12:45 #

    Hi Chris,
    It’s great to read your posts on Juba and see your photos as well. I’ve been offered a post there, probably starting February or March next year. Juba is not exactly on the lonely planet guide! So it’s interesting to read your perspective. I particularly liked the questions you posed about life after independence. I will be working on natural resource issues, which is the cause of some conflict. So perhaps there is some hope for the country? I’m concerned about oil dominating though and the majority of people’s basic needs continuing to be unmet. It’s a crazy world out there, but sometimes even crazier in our own societies. Great photos too, I loved the creatures of Juba pics, including the spiders! All the best :)

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