Life in South Sudan

A blog about working and living in South Sudan.

Month: May, 2013

Field trip to Malakal

The mother I escorted made it on to her connecting flight, and my colleague carried a bag of food that he handed over to a woman in the waiting hall in the airport in Malakal. This is very common here. People ask you at the airport where you are going and if you can deliver things for their family. With no postal system you have to find other ways.

We went to Malakal to deliver a new computer tablet to our team working there and to see how the market price collection was going. Malakal is located up north close to the boarder to Sudan. In Juba rainy season has now started and the weather is “cold”, but in Malakal the rains were still to come and it was unbearably hot and dry. The water stations in the town were empty for water so everywhere we went we saw people carrying water from the Nile. My hotel didn’t have any water either, or power, which made my stay there rather unpleasant. There were simply no way of escaping the heat. If there hadn’t been soldiers with guns outside my room I would probably have tried to sleep outside.

A part from the hotel, the field trip went well. I enjoyed watching scenes you don’t get to see in Juba, like people cultivating on islands in the Nile. In Malakal they also use donkeys and horses for transport and they “decorate” them as if they were matatus or cars. I saw one sad looking donkey with flowers behind its ears and another with a hat. They even had home made painted number plates on the donkey carriages. Work was also good. The price collection is going well and we’ll release new data soon. And for the people curious about what market price collection in South Sudan can look like, here are some pictures.

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Change is inevitable

Fredskorpset is celebrating their 50th anniversary with an exhibition in central Oslo. A friend of mine sent me this picture with some words that look very familiar. They are from a text I wrote in Norwegian that can be found  here.Fredskorpset 50th Anniversary Exhibition

“Change is inevitable.

By moving a person from one country to another and into a new culture, you push her out of her comfort zone and right into someone else’s.

That’s when different types of mutual exchange happen.

That’s when change happens.”

I’ll let these words end my exchange year at the National Bureau of Statistics. But my time in South Sudan is not yet over. There are more stories to come.