Airport in Juba packed with well dressed families waiting for the flight to Khartoum. Surrounded by bags of toys, food, and flat screen TV’s. Not much confidence being expressed in the politicians ability to sort out the mess that is South Sudan.
I felt enormously relieved to be on the flight. The weight of a zillion years left behind at the bottom of the staircase.
For all that, there is something unreal about sitting next to the swimming pool in Nairobi. With the sound of falling water, a glass of red wine that tastes excellent. My hands clean. The table free of dust and the heady scent of golden shower filling the air.
I feel totally disconnected with the reality of Juba, with its unnerving threat that seems to permeate the pores of our lives there. Visible, but unavoidable. This while dealing with those who aren’t there. Or haven’t been there. That seem drawn to it. Hard to explain. Impossible to understand.
I know this is what we do. It defies logic.
The United Nations Office in Nairobi (UNON), is a massive campus of trees, parks, buildings and perfect people. Intoxicating in its perfection, the line of flags that funnel a cavalcade of diplomats to the entrance. Chocolate box perfect. The cafe’, its elegance matched by the presentation of my cappuccino. The art on the walls, no less powerful than a Diego mural, the idealism of the UN.
Days filled with meetings. Discussions. Plans made. Discarded. Of importance, time spent with South Sudan staff who are currently working from Nairobi.