Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

Sky growling. Lightning in joyful abandon. Rain on the iron roof. Air flavored with freshness.

Sheets in the wash as I managed to catch my finger on a staple that was sticking out of the mattress somewhere. The amount of blood disproportionate to the cut.

Somehow, I need to settle my restless mind and sleep before another demanding day, where I have staff who are fearful as war rages in areas where we are trying to keep access open for humanitarian operations.

Chinese evening at the house. The food good, with a variety of dishes from the impossibly hot to prawns, lamb and chicken. Surprisingly for me, was that one of the best dishes was a mushroom and chicken soup with lemon grass and ginger. Definitely not boring and my sinuses, fabulously clean!

A gentle afternoon at the river. It’s been ages since I was there, and as always the flow of the river is mesmerizing. The best part was I met Echo. A small, whippet like, white and brown dog.

Long queues at the petrol stations creating havoc with the traffic. A new industry has been created with people looking after, and moving, cars in the queue. You drive to the end of the queue, leave your car with the keys in it and then catch a boda-boda, or walk to work. Guys run up and down the queue moving the vehicles and phone you when your car is near the front. Police are monitoring the refueling to make sure that no one fills containers for resale, clamping down on a new addition to the black market.

Walk at first light, with the odd jog to the edge of painful ribs. My planned painting discarded in the beauty of the sunrise, chasing the lingering storm clouds. Turning the wet cast iron roofs into mirrors of magic.

It’s far too late for me. Necessary discussions on security issues, how to save the world and the relevance of Micky Mouse in the context of South Sudan?

I did get to spend an hour at the River Nile sorting out another multi-million dollar contract against the backdrop of war and uncertainty.

The wall outside the prison has been painted a pale yellow, with grey for the pillars. A colour scheme taken from the South Sudan coat of arms, and being used for the walls of all the ministry offices in Juba Town. The wall around our office looked terrible in comparison and is now being transformed into a brilliant white space. At least, until the first dust storm.

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Messing About with Paint

Sunrise over Jebel Hill

Oil on canvas 40cmx30cm

A sky of ultramarine blue, shot through with carmine and Indian yellow sunset clouds. The beauty of nature so at odds with the daily drama.

The influence for a small painting of a brooding, cloudy sky full of mystery.

Probably a tad more of an Old Testament feel about it, than the light Impressionist style I’m comfortable with.

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.

Messing About with Paint

Huts

Oil on Canvas 40cmx30cm

A painting of huts on the easel that reminds me of Monet’s haystacks.

It started out as huts against the skyline. Empty of life. The earth scorched by the sun. Echoing the hopeless consequence of war.

Watching the sunrise, full of promise, drums and singing from where the IDP’s are corralled, the painting took on a different life.

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