Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

We are locked down in Juba Town as the military have sealed the town searching for weapons. Only a bother in that I have staff in hotels who may be vulnerable. It does mean that I’m forced to mess about with paint, which isn’t the worst thing to be doing on a Saturday.

My portrait, ‘Leader of the Pack’. Amongst the wheelbarrow boys who carry goods for those returning to the Protection of Civilian Camp at UN House, there is one who organizes them. Taller, older than the small kids who strain under their loads, he walks alongside the laden wheelbarrows and does the negotiation with the security guards to allow access.

Humid and sultry start in Juba Town. A short, slow jog on my bothersome Achilles. A bugle calling Reveille from the Bangladesh contingent a bit of a surprise. The smell of rain making the coucal’s happy.

At the airport, the chaos has been brought into a semblance of control. The scanner is working and the arriving luggage is screened and then put into rows, rather than the usual jumble. They have guys checking luggage tags and they even have protocol officers. Worked well on a slow Sunday morning, and we will see how it works when there are five plane loads arriving at the same time.

Braai time at ‘Juba Beach’, the name for the temporary housing we have established at the office. Sher did his secret Afghan chicken in yoghurt sauce on the fire, with parcels of ‘Koftas’, a minced meat dish that has equal amounts of garlic and meat.

A gazillion mozzies out after the short rainstorm. My bed the battlefield of dead, as Doom spray wrecks havoc with the ozone layer.

On our way through the afternoon traffic, turned chaotic by a blue light convoy and wild, sunglasses wearIng Presidential Guards, a woman driving a boda-boda scooter!

Marathon days at the moment, with a seemingly endless multitude of niggly issue to solve.

Some of the feedback from colleagues we have brought it to introduce improved, and best practice, in our work is quite sobering and I’ll need to see how to adjust my leadership in this crazy situation to overcome the gaps.

Lots of soldiers on the streets of Juba Town, stopping vehicles for weapon checks. Most polite, with the occasional one spaced out on some sort of substance.

My real concern is how to move my paintings home when they aren’t quite dry, knowing that everything could go nuts here while I’m away.

Dinner of cheese, pate and red wine with bunches of chat. Jim decided that I reminded him of the record cover from a small record label in Glasgow called Struggletown Records. He presented me with a t-shirt with the graphic of Everyday Struggle on it, which they have decided must become my brand.

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