Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

Went out for my jog on a modified circuit that took me past where the new IDP camp is going to be built. The bush is burnt ready for the dozers in the morning. Amongst the black, a grey herron looking for braai end dinner. Certainly struggled!

The dinner innovation tonight (pasta with sausage) was an advertisement for the UNOPS Project Management approach. They went out searching, and finding, a pot that would work on the induction stove, and then refined the tea-light candle and tuna tin cooker so that it kept the sausage and tomato sauce at the perfect temperature.

A chilly start to the day in Juba Town, with one of those red African sunrises through the haze.

Different sort of preparations on the drive through from UN House to the office. Heavily armed soldiers, supported by a tank stand watch at the building of National Intelligence, while at the John Garang square they are erecting tents and piles of plastic chairs are waiting to be set out in the stand for the anniversary of the signing of the CPA.

Washing machine working! Paperback and wine cork used to balance it so it doesn’t spin itself into pieces.

My drama, what next on my easel?

A song from our South Sudan Talent Finalist; Rapper, Emmanuel

Not for Crying Any More South Sudan

Between us South Sudanese, I say No more blood shedding,
It’s time to stand together and build peace and harmony


I salute the entire martyr’s for their wisdom
And their live blood which have been poured for freedom
Of this beautiful green country South Sudan
It’s time Now for Peace and development
Not for crying any more South Sudan


It’s time to stand stronger to plant
For our beautiful green country
Let our Freedom Fighters soul rest in peace
For what they have been fighting for long, long time
No more bloodshed.


Let us think for the innocent people, women, children dying
And the displaced people across the country
Why… we have a beautiful Country full of resources
Let us come together as one
Not for crying any more South Sudan


Emmanuel Habakuk Kafu Soro

Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

A minute silence at the UN Senior Management Group to respect the life of Nelson Mandela. Flags around Juba Town at half mast, a candle in the early morning.

Goat kebabs on the small braai on a warm evening in Juba Town. Cooked them a tad longer than ideal on the very hot fire. Will be glad to get back to the Weber!

I had a good jog and started my painting, a portrait of a chess player in Juba Town, his face twisted in concentration. I used a monochrome pallet to reinforce the planes of his face. A dab of colour to stop it from being boring.

Awake early and ready to head out to the office, in convoy as an added precaution, setting out as soon as its light, to miss the expected traffic build up as a result of road closures. Probably all unnecessary, but better to have options. The best part, the smell of fresh bread baking along the streets of Juba Town.

A thin strip of asphalt, bounded by drifts of red powdered sand against what remains of a concrete curb, and potholes carved out of once was a road. Through the dust, with heavily loaded trucks leaping through the holes, a guy on rollerblades, in a colour coordinated black and red skin suit. Nuts!

Dinner under the stars at Central Pub, the conversation lively, the food rubbish.

The coffee machine is cleaned, linen stripped from the bed, the house empty without paintings that have all been packed for Cape Town.

For this year, the end of adventures in Juba Town.


UNOPS SSOC Juba 2013

Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

Sunset jog, the call to prayer and an owl somewhere in the bush, that is rapidly disappearing as they build more houses at Juba 3. For now, there are still only a couple of regulars out on the circuit. Bush fires, and sweltering days the indication that the rainy season is over? Aircon not only welcome, but sanity preserving, essential.

News of Dads mild stroke a shock making the distance that much harder to deal with. Glad he is out of hospital and on the recovery road.

For my painting of the Impala Lilies, I used a green underpaying to give added depth to the flowers. Underpaying is something I’m beginning to use more frequently, particularly as my raw linen canvases are finished. A balance between using less paint to increase the translucence of the petals and getting the intensity of the colour. As the paint dries I may smudge it to soften the lines.

The house shaking under a series tremours. Not unexpected this close the Great Rif Valley, but still unusual. A few early morning shots the aftermath of the protests by street traders at their removal.

Perfect weather for the year end braai. As is now standrad, Sher and Yoga did an excellent job of sorting the food and logistics, with chicken and goat kebabs that were tasty and colourful. Lots of lime and chilli for those who needed additional zing. Reisi marshaled the Christmas gift challenge masterfully, with some of the gifts being swapped multiple times and enough people and gift variation to make it interesting and fun.

Pizza next to the Nile on a very warm Juba Town evening. Service tragically slow, turning a peaceful location into growling discontent.

We have another couple of million allocated to us for work to assist the expected dry season clashes in Jongelei. The difficulty will be getting in early enough to get it all completed before they start without getting bogged down in mud. Interesting to see how the ares of conflict tie into the history of the civil war and how ‘patched over’ problems are resurfacing as they weren’t properly dealt with then.

Amongst the chaos that seems to be building as we deal with the multidimensional challenges of bureaucracy, auditors, year end, budgets, proposals, and egos with a weary team, the unexpected haven of a pond filled with water lilies near to the area that has been allocated to us for staff housing.

Making the most of the cool morning, a jog with the sunrise. A bunch of people out on the circuit which meant I ran quicker than I normally would. That ego thing! There were new yellow and purple summer flowers out. I can only imagine they are short lived in the heat?