Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bringing you up to speed on the journey....

May 30, 2013

I’ve been at the hotel for less than 24 hours…what a difference a bed that is big enough, long enough and sturdy enough makes for sleep!  Not to mention having a remote control for the air conditioner.

Having said this I should explain that in South Sudan, and this was true in Sudan as well, many beds and chairs are made with colorful and strong string or rope.  Someone weaves the bottom of the bed over the frame, or the bottom and the back of a chair over the frame.  While this is of course good for local business it is not the most comfortable material to sleep on, even with a mattress, and box springs do not exist here.  In my case the college had transported my cotton full size mattress from Khartoum and I had to have a frame and bottom made for me in Malakal.  While I took good measurements and the men who did the work claimed to know what I was instructing them to do, they did not understand.  As a result the mattress sticks up on the head and foot of the frame and my feet go over the bottom when I stretch out.  So believe me when I say that a large enough mattress is a true blessing! 

I had a feeling in Malakal that my Solar Shower “showers” were not really getting me clean.  The bottom of the stationary shower here in the room was coated with grime this morning, I kind of winced when I saw that.  The actual shower head that does not work in Malakal because we do not have running water in the house is where I hang the Solar Shower.  It is not high enough as I think the SS is meant to be placed in a way high tree branch.  So the advantage of the SS is I am not having to use soapy water to rinse off but I have to hold the hose that comes out of the SS and it is not as effective as a stationary shower head.  There is also a lot of dirt and grime in Malakal and the SS cannot hold the amount of water (or I couldn’t carry it down the hall from the kitchen where the Clean Water Barrel is from which I fill it) that I would need for the kind of shower I am able to take here in Juba. 

May 26, 2013

There are so many developmental issues in this country.  One  of the issues is how to keep the ground from being over saturated during rainy season and how to irrigate it during dry season so that it averages and evens out and can be cultivated.  With cultivation will come the question of how to provide food security so that people know the food they grow, the crops they plant and nurture will not be stolen from them.

One of the issues for me living here in Malakal is the monotony in food.  The people here are used to having the same food every day, or however often they are able to eat.  The food is cooked over charcoal and I don’t think that spices or herbs or anything besides perhaps onions and salt are used to perk anything up.  The concept of Mexican or Italian or Mediterranean food does not exist here.  Someone asked me today so what is American food?  And I said, Mexican or Italian or Mediterranean or whatever because we have people from every country in the world in the United States.  I have my menu worked out for the first two days in Juba….spanish omelet, vegetarian pizza, crepes (supposed to be pancakes but they aren’t), spring rolls, vegetarian pizza.  In between there will be strawberry yogurt and snickers bars.

April 28, 2013

Life takes a lot of time without electricity or running water.

April 2, 2013

I have just woken up after a bare minimum amount of hours of sleep from a day and a night of travel to a place called The Grail in Cape Town, South Africa.  I wrestled the front door open and lo and behold my eyes feasted on a vision of nature that took me back to childhood to a place called Buck Creek that was a Presbyterian Church Camping ministry. 

There was rain last night and the greenness here is permeated with subdued water. 

There is rustic and then there is rustic.  The cabin, or little house, in which I slept is rustic.  However it has running water.  And a real kitchen with a running refrigerator.  I just heated water in an electric kettle. 

There were three airline flights yesterday to get to this destination.  I flew first from Juba, South Sudan to Nairobi, Kenya.  Then from Nairobi to Johannesburg, South Africa.  Then from JBurg to Cape Town.  THEN there was a van ride of at least 70 minutes out to our accomodations for the next week. 

As the plane flew into JBurg I looked around and realized, after landing, that the people who were on cell phones must be the folks who live in JBurg.  Then I realized this must be true for anywhere in the world that I land in a plane.  The folks on the cell phones are the natives.  In the case of most of the world this means that they have a SIM card for the country and aren’t waiting to purchase one, like a foreigner.  Oh yeah, that would be meJ 

I am very tired.  I’m going to sign off for now and continue to blog later.