May 19, 2015
Having just walked to three different stores I now have a new report to make. While clearly nothing like the lines that I have read about happening in places in Eastern Europe in the past (and I am sure are somewhere in the world right now), I did get a sense of how it could take a day to find food to feed a family; every day. Yogurt is gone even at the store that I had heard had some. Okay, they had two little tiny containers and then two of the larger containers of plain. However, the refrigerated compartments were not cold and there was no air, not even fans, in the store. This is because of a lack of fuel and/or the cost of fuel. I decided not to take my chances with refrigerated items. Oh yes, I saw two women buying the last of the big bottles of water in one store.
Both of the items that I did end up purchasing had jumped by ten South Sudanese pounds in the last week. I paid 12 SSP for a bar of soap. Having not bought it here before I can only assume that is expensive. I picked up rice and beans take home at the local outdoor eatery. The woman said business is not good because everything is so expensive. If it is bad here in Juba, with prices and empty shelves, how much worse in the rural areas?
Several days ago when on my way to the bus stop I saw, as usual, the women who carry the trays of practical toiletries on their heads. Suddenly “give us this day our daily bread” from the Lord’s Prayer came to life for me. Every day they must sell enough to be able to eat their daily bread. God, please send them the people to buy their products so that they can eat. Every day.
Last week after garbage day I saw something that once again gave me reason to rejoice that I am a vegetarian. Just where the garbage had been, and where of course there were still traces, were now sheep; standing and gleefully ingesting any and all leftovers that they could find.
Finally for today, I have been trying to understand that economics of what is going on here in South Sudan that is causing prices to skyrocket. One of the things that could be explored is the concept that even when goods like produce are brought into Juba and then shipped out or flown to other places, they are changed at dollar rates even if local money was used to purchase them. They need to be charged at the rate that was used for purchase. If an economist, or at least someone who knows more about this than I do, could explain this to me in more detail I would be grateful.