Life in South Sudan

A blog about working and living in South Sudan.

Month: December, 2012

Puddle Dirt Road, gate 1

In a town without addresses you have to use landmarks to explain where you live. When directing people to my old place I used to tell them to turn left after Save the Children on the road to MSF, “I live opposite a construction site, and my gate is the pink one between a pile of dirt and a pile of garbage”.

I recently moved and today a friend picked me up to go to our guitar lesson. He called me when he was outside to confirm that he was in the right place.

“Is your gate the one before the big puddle?”

Yes, that’s my new home. It’s the black gate before the big puddle. I guess that’s my new address.

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Resurrected on the third day

Three days in bed with my typhoid and I’ve impatiently been waiting for that feeling of resurrection that happens when the drugs finally kick in. Today, at 5 pm, it happened. It was as if I had woken up from the dead. And the first sign of better health – I  was craving a pizza.

Luckily you can go for take-away pizza around the corner from my house. I got dressed and walked out of my room for the first time since Saturday. Staying inside my room for so long I had almost forgotten what Juba is like. Three days with A/C had made me forget the heat and I realized, as soon as I got out, that my long-sleaved sweater was too much. I made it outside my gate when the next surprise came. A naked old man. Oh yes, I had forgotten he usually takes an afternoon bath in the flooded and abandoned construction site across from my home.  Some kids were playing with bicycle wheels next to the naked man. I stumbled in the the sand and laughed to myself at the absurd fact that I was going for a take-away pizza in this environment.

I only managed three slices of pizza and it didn’t taste as well as it usually does. But it feels great to be back to life.

Next week – malaria!

Over the last few weeks I’ve used my spare time and some working hours to try out some local tropical diseases.

Last week I had amoebas.  It wasn’t too bad. I got treatment and after a few days the amoebas were declared dead by the doctor.

This week my stomach problems got worse so I decided to go back to the clinic. Typhoid fever this time. That actually surprised me. I wasn’t feeling that bad. I even questioned the doctor when she told me the results. I didn’t even have a fever. And I’ve been vaccinated. She assured me the lab was reliable, explained that vaccination is not a guarantee, it’s a serious disease and I really need to take my antibiotics. Today I believe her. Typhoid is painful. So far, I prefer amoebas to typhoid.

So, what to try next week… Any recommendations? How about malaria?