Monthly Archives: November 2013

A picture of my everyday life…


Rainy Nights

3 am: I have to pee but don’t want to leave my mosquito-net-covered bed. I have to. It’s raining outside again. For once there’s light in the toilet because logically we mainly have power in the middle of the night and not so much at day – some people sleep with aircon on, for me this time at night means I cuddle up under a blanket and sheet. Benny (the dog) thinks it’s morning when I walk out and jumps around. I pat him on the head. Pee. On the way in I bang my forehead against the doorframe because I’m kinda stupid and save the light in spite of the generator not using more or less fuel depending on the number of lights on. Aw. I have some trouble falling asleep again because I’m thinking of bugs. I often have nightmares about bugs. Here it’s the fear of killing a nairobi fly in my sleep and waking up with 3rd degree burns on my skin or the occasional nightmares about cockroaches or crickets invading my room. I sleep.

Slow Mornings

7 am: I wake up. Partly from my alarm, partly from the construction workers starting work outside my window and all over Juba. Sometimes they play Christmas songs on Sundays, where they start equally early. That pisses me off. I’m used to the normal noise of construction and generators now and don’t notice until I leave Juba, how noisy this city actually is. It is! Very noisy!

8.15: We leave the house in our white Toyota Landcruiser. That’s the most common cars here I think. Toyota definitely has a good business in South Sudan. I call the small cars babycars and don’t understand why someone wants to drive a babycar in Juba, where half the roads are still dirt roads. Bumping up the long dirt road from our house we pass construction, hotels, NGO-compounds, nice houses, small shops, piles of trash; some of it burning, local eating places (sheds with plastic chairs) and a lot of tukuls – small mud houses. Juba kinda hides many of the people who live like this, which is probably still most of the population in the city. Most of them risk to be evicted because of the rapid growth of the city. Someone with more money wants to build a hotel for business. They are usually Lebanese, Eritreans or Ethiopians. Some South Sudanese call Juba for Djubai referring to Dubai of course – that is a very distant and unrealistic utopia I think… But it’s difficult to tell them!

At the roads there are dogs, goats and people everywhere. And boda boda’s (motorcycles) and bad drivers in general. If you run over even the most surreal looking, almost-starved-to-death street dog, someone will for sure come and claim it and ask you for a lot of money. Same for goats. If you have an accident you’ll probably be blamed. You can recognise the cars on their plates – government, police, army etc. – that’s nice, then you know when to respect the others more. But only then. If you generally respect other people in traffic too much you’ll never get anywhere. There’s no traffic lights (there’s no electricity except for generators), just chaotic roundabouts and traffic police who gesticulate madly with no one understanding what it means. Sometimes we pass ‘random-naked guy’. Homeless people who’s gone a bit mad and don’t wear any clothes. Ever.  They were in Ghana too I remember. There’s surprisingly few of them here.

9.30: At the office. It’s in a nice hotel. Some of their staffs are a little bit in love with me. Aircondition. Work. Colleagues. Coffee. Snack.

Local Lunch

13.00-14.00: Lunch. Most days in the local place at the street. I eat Kizra and Addis – that’s like a huge white pancake, kinda spongy, non-explainable, with lentils cooked in a delicious way. Because I don’t eat meat (or goat or chicken or fish I have to remember to say here as meat only = beef). I’m quite happy I don’t! Sometimes I bring lunch. My colleagues laugh at me and my carrots. Sometimes I spend my lunchbreak at the market buying overpriced vegetables/fruit and getting muddy, disgusting feet that I then have to wash with the ass-washer at the hotel toilet when I get back (like a small shower in the toilet instead of using paper?). You never know when they try to trick you in the market just because you’re Kawacha (white). I make sure people remember me. I hope that’s a good trick!

Wonderful nights

18.00: We go home from the office. Project who’s going where-when-how starts as we’re 4 people sharing one car.  Maybe I go to do yoga on a rooftop. Maybe I just chill at home; currently watching The Wire. Maybe I cook. Maybe we go out for dinner. Sometimes dinner becomes drinks.

23.00: Curfew if you’re out by yourself.

1:00am: Curfew if we’re more people in the car.

Sleep. Cycle.

The rest

Weekends are different. Days off. Swimmingpools. Friends. Parties. Another story, another time.

In a week all the above will change. A lot. Off to the field. Can’t wait!