Arriving in Juba, and a few UNMIS photos

I left DR Congo at the end of August, and after 3 nights in Nairobi I was airborne en route to South Sudan to begin a new contract as a logistician in the capital city, Juba. For a few minutes, the late-morning shadow of our Canadair Regional Jet on the clouds had a crazy circle of sunlight around it:

Plane shadow

Flying over South Sudan:

Flying over South Sudan

We flew over the Nile River as we approached Juba, which is in the background in this photo:

Nile River with Juba in background

The outskirts of Juba, as the plane spun around to line itself up for landing:

Outskirts of Juba

More Juba outskirts as seen from the sky:

Approaching Juba

On that first evening, some colleagues took me for a walk down to the UNMIS (UN Mission in Sudan) base, which is not far from our compound, and is quite big. On the UNMIS base, there’s a small mosquito breeding ground with a referendum paddlewheel ferry. The sign is a reference to the January 2011 referendum that will (99.9% sure) bring independence for this part of Sudan.

South Sudan referendum barge

The entire country is littered with landmines and unexploded ordinance (UXO), so there are many demining groups including several military demining groups such as Bangladesh Demining, whose short-form name doesn’t work so well in English:

Bangladesh Demining

There are often dozens of massive storks on the UNMIS compound, perched atop the lampposts or the ginormous UNMIS fuel tanks.

Storks at UNMIS, Juba

The UNMIS military force in Juba is composed of mainly Bangladeshi and Indian soldiers. For some reason, the Bangladesh Battalion entry in the UNMIS base was lit up with Christmas lights a few weeks ago:

UNMIS Bangladesh Battalion

Bangladesh Deminers:

Bangladesh Demining

UN helicopters piloted by old hands from Eastern Europe often fly over my home, like this one:

UNMIS helicopter over Juba

The work here is very tough, mainly because of the long hours required to get a small percentage of my tasks completed each day, so I haven’t had much time over these past two months to spend on blog posts or personal emails, but hopefully I’ll manage to do so soon.

It’s now been 15 weeks since my last R&R break, and my next one is scheduled for mid-December by which point I will have worked 5 months without more than 2 consecutive days off. Definitely starting to get pretty tired, but still plodding along.