-  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.


In his time Jan has been an electronics, nuclear and power system engineer, a strategist, a humanitarian and an artist. A career path linked by creativity and innovative thinking. Initially trained at the Johannesburg College of Art, Jan has won numerous international awards and has exhibited nationally and internationally. He can be found in his studio ‘Jandreart’ located at Thesen Harbour Town, Knysna.


  • Alyson Davies

    Congratulations Jan, on the incredible achievements. And on getting your blog going. We always love it. All the best for 2013 and hope to see you somewhere along the way. Much love, Aly and Eugen

    December 30, 2012

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