Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

Oil on Linen 40cmx50cm

Oil on Linen 40cmx50cm

Juba Adventures
31st Dec 12
After five months of being in the apartment, I finally connected the stove and found out how to switch it on, while ensuring that I didn’t gas myself. With a working stove and before the eggs I bought last week, and kept forgetting in the office fridge went bad, I decided to get an omelet sorted. I needed to wash the pan as it hadn’t been used and was very dusty. Then wash the plates that were in a similar state before finally getting the few bits needed. I used too much butter, if that’s at all possible in the world of Julia Child, carefully broke the eggs into separate mugs in case one of them was bad (another two dishes) opened the salt grinder, found the smelly cheese and the sharp knife to slice a few bits (another dish), searched for a fork to beat the eggs and eventually got the whole lot sorted. The cheese ensured that it was tasty and not just an egg things, as I didn’t have tomatoes, onions or any of the other bits. I will certainly do a repeat when the duka downstairs is closed, but otherwise I will happily walk downstairs and pay the three South Sudanese Pounds (50 cents) for an omelet and chapatti. With my cooking method there is no chapatti for the dogs!

Added an additional block onto my longer jogging route, which means it should be close to the targeted 8km distance. A tad difficult to determine as the network isn’t good enough for the phone app to work. It even has an undulation which is a tad trying for my lungs that have only been used to flat Juba Town. The people I pass along the road are encouraging, although there is more than one hint that my shuffle speed is totally inadequate.

Finished my last painting for the year, of a young girl from Lake State. A gentle undemanding painting, with the composition simplified from the one I started out with. I also took out the charcoal and acrylic that I have neglected since I have been in Juba Town which I will get started with as part of the New Year, 30 paintings in 30 days challenge.

I had Le Bistro to myself, other than the security detachment looking after the Ethiopian President, for a cappuccino and breakfast out under the umbrellas. Caught up on the pile of reading that had accumulated on my desk. Some important stuff that should have been dealt with ages ago, some bits that are still useful and a bunch that fits into the boring category. The cappuccino was such that you needed to hunt for the coffee, but the alternative is the ‘rocket fuel’ like Ethiopian brew that they make.

My strategic stock of wine has reached crisis levels, which will need attention before the New Year.

An electrical fire in the office to finish the year. Nothing dramatic.

May 2013 be amazing!

Happy New Year

Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures


Trek Fishermen

Oil on Linen 35cmx40cm

No surprise that the specially organised eggs and butter, in anticipation of everything being closed for the Christmas holidays, got left in the fridge in the office. So much for my planning!

Christmas morning, awake early, lazed until it was light enough to head out for my jog. I took some of the smaller interconnecting roads around the apartment as I could see where i was going. Lots of people heading out to church, the young girls struggling to walk in their new high heels, kids dressed from head to toe in yellow, pink and blue. Guys in their dapper suits, wearing their most outrageous pointy shoes. The churches have put out hundreds of seats under awnings.

For lunch, pâté with a French Pinot and a Christmas cake from Karmers was excellent. Spicy and moist with great texture.

Jogchum and Jess went to a bunch of work to prepare a Christmas night dinner for the few of us left in Juba Town. They had prepared chicken and veggies, while Rula made Kufta, a Palestinian ground meat dish that was very good. The conversation, amongst such a diverse group was intriguing, particularly with the different celebrations of Christmas amongst the Dutch and the Orthodox, who only celebrate on the 7th Jan, and who rules Christmas?? Church, Coca-Cola or Disney!??

I made a tour of my cupboard and suitcases and found a bunch of nonsense stuff to ensure that everyone was able to draw out a mystery gift. Most surprising was that everyone seemed pleased with what they had and weren’t one bit interested in swopping with anyone else!

For the rest , I read slept and messed about with paint.

A painting from my trip home, Trek Fisherman on Blouberg Beach. Very far from Juba Town!

Alongside the street, under a tree, a group of men play chess.

Christmas Message to UNOPS South Sudan
We have, as SSOC, done some amazing things this past year and it’s important that we take a moment to pause, and acknowledge the part that each individual member of SSOC has contributed to these achievements.

We have contributed to the saving of thousands of lives in the refugee camps of Upper Nile; enabled children to go to school with food in their stomachs; reduced the chances of girls and women being sexually abused on their way to collect water; allowed the security forces to prevent and return stolen cattle; created the building blocks for governance; improved the safety of air-traffic, and done much to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our operations.

While many of these achievements have been singled out by our peers for recognition at UNCT meetings, stakeholder workshops, and the UNOPS GMM, with the Project of the Year award, it’s the small, seldom acknowledged aspects of our work that are the key to these achievements.

The hours of selfless work of those who have contributed to the Saturday learning sessions. The diligence of our Staff Forum in handling the many relationship aspects. The thousands of kilometers, in all conditions, we have been driven in safety. The stories, not the monthly report, lessons sharing, flexibility between projects, the get things done attitude, and those who have made us laugh and smile.

Indications are that 2013 will be no less challenging, no less demanding with higher expectations. None of which would be possible without the effort of this past year.

My thanks to all.

Have a Blessed Christmas and a New Year full of promise.


Diary of an Adventure

Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days

It seems a tad  crazy to be looking to paint 30 paintings in 30 days, as challenged by Leslie Saeta in her weekly Artists Helping Artists blog talk radio. Particularly as for the first ten days I will not only have UNOPS to run during the challenging dry season in South Sudan, but will also be standing in as the HC/RC/OIC with the upsurge in tribal and inter-state conflict over cattle that affects thousands each year. In addition, I will loose ten days to travel so in reality it’s 30 paintings in 21 days.

The plan is to use the opportunity to push the charcoal and acrylic medium boundary that I have neglected for much of this year. It’s the only medium for which I have enough supplies and if I did the challenge using my normal oil painting medium, I would have to sleep in the office as there would be no space in my shoe box apartment to dry the paintings.

Interesting I expect it will be.Image


Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

Somehow in the travels, I lost my South Sudan SIM card, which left me stranded at the airport. A novel, not unpleasant experience, for one who is used to being swept through formalities in a white UN chariot. Somehow the message got through to the office that I was stranded and the white chariots duly arrived. Fortunately in time to get me to the staff Christmas party. As I had been reading all sorts of New Year stuff in the gospel according to Men’s Health and the SA Runner, I was able to do a rousing speech between the carol singing and opening of gifts. Dinner out under the stars of Juba Town accompanied by storytelling and dancing, assisted by copious amounts of wine and beer.

With the Tukal canteen closed for the holidays, I have had to find alternatives for breakfast and lunch, as well as supplies, which they sorted for me. Tinned tuna and red wine will ensure that I don’t starve, with a broadening of lunch options to Hamza Inn, a dodgy place opposite Notos. The food is basic boarding school style buffet, with the only advantage being that you don’t have to wait for service.

With the holidays, the streets are quiet again in the mornings making for a less hazardous jog. Apart from the odd brick, or open culvert which are a tad difficult to spot in the dark. Nothing like a bit of trail running on the few paved streets of Juba Town.

The riots in Wau, north of Juba have kept us occupied as we ascertained the safety of staff, which highlighted a problem with our safety plans as we did not have the location of families. All a bit crazy with intertribal and community fighting. Football hooligans on steroids! The shooting down of a UN helicopter over Jongelei a tad disturbing.

Evening noises at the apartment in Juba Town, bashing doors, breaking glasses, raised voices and generators. The aircrew who stay here having their usual party, with a bit of holiday frustration thrown in. Still, better than shooting! We are now under a midnight curfew to try and stop some of the increased crime that comes with the Christmas season.

A strange sort of day in Juba Town as if it hasn’t quite woken up. I was later than usual for my jog, the sky hazy, and I’m not sure that I haven’t got slower as the day has gone on??

I did manage to do my painting from on of Chiba’s photos taken in Lakes State. Simple, but demanding.

Oil on Line 30cmx40cm