Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

‘Healing the World’, the painting of Anna’s daughter creating rainbows on the beach. The small size of the canvas a challenge for my fingers. Particularly the child’s face, where Impressionism clashes with realism.

A double loop of my long route, cocooned in mist. Fortunately I had a soldier with me for the second loop, and I could sink a hook into him to haul me up the hill. Such that it is. My Achilles a tad bothersome.

The still African evening filled with the beat of Latin America. Carnival. With sequins, feathers, masks and glitter. Swinging hips. Shadows, dancing in the candle light. The reality of Juba Town forgotten for a lighthearted birthday evening.

‘A New Day’, a painting of dawn breaking over Juba Town. The smell of damp earth. Air scrubbed clean by rain, still in the early morning. The birds a bit of a cliché. Harmless, safe, amongst the chaos of South Sudan.

Soldiers manning key points in Juba Town, many of them holding small South Sudan flags. No aggression from them as they prepared for the parade to commemorate the 1955 Torit Mutiny. Would have said so much more if they had held parades for World Humanitarian day for the 1.7 million of their citizens their fighting has displaced.

Didn’t feel much like my jog and struggled around the first bit. Big contrast between my laboured struggle and the smooth flowing, effortless, run of a bunch who came past me, wearing the latest in minimalist footwear. Chinese plastic slops.

The roads of Juba Town busy with usual assortment of crazy drivers and white clad traffic police waving their arms in various directions in an uncoordinated flurry that ensured that any smooth flowing traffic was rapidly log jammed. Only the looming presence of new monster Armoured Personnel Carriers, topped by the maroon berets and black mirror lens sunglasses on the heads of the Presidential Guards seemed to miraculously clear the roads.

Messing About with Paint

Juba Sunrise

Oil on Canvas 60cmx50cm

Each morning, they move the cattle out from their evening stockade alongside the main soccer stadium, to their pastures along the river bank. I wanted to capture the fiery sunrises we are getting in Juba at the moment, as well as the uniqueness and central role that cattle play in the life of the South Sudanese. Hence I kept the cattle herder insignificant in the painting.