Juba, Sudan 9/25/10
Arrived in Juba yesterday afternoon and it was probably the most sketchy arrival into another country that I have ever experienced. I felt so unbelievably uncomfortable. I was the minority and even among the other Caucasians I was the only American. The customs office and bag claim was all one big room. A tractor pulling a cart with our bags arrived after 20 minutes…probably still more reliable than American airlines.
Upon walking outside there was a man with an msf sign and he drove me to the office. There I had a quick meeting with Alice and discussed plans for the next two days. Then I met Kerry the financial coordinator and she handed me a brown envelope with 100 USD and 110 Sudanese pounds. This is your emergency money. It’s not for drugs, it’s not for prostitutes. It’s your money in case someone puts a gun to your head or you are in some other bad situation. I was like Oh where the he’ll are you from and what kind of people are you used to dealing with? So apparently Juba is not that safe. They say no it’s ok but at night you are likely to be mugged if alone.
I went over to the guesthouse and met Tony the OR nurse, Tek from Nepal, and the architect from Kenya. We watched tv, talked and drank big Tusker beers. Dinner was a random grazing of cold jupati’s, bread rolls, and mini bananas.
My room was hot and I was already freaked out by the Mosquitos based on what Tony told me. The kenyan dude already had malaria and Kerry told me last night that one of their workers died from malaria in the last few months. Great! So glad I accepted. I am not happy at all about the mosquito situation.
I had my water bottle in bed with me this morning and it fell over onto my leg and I freaked out thinking some animal jumped in bed with me. I was so amped up from watching animal planet and talking to Tony about the Mosquitos last night.
Had a simple breakfast: warm instant coffee, mini bananas, and bread rolls with nutella. Then a miserable cold shower. Then had to walk over to the msf office. No paved roads here just mud everywhere.
Met with David the field co and discussed the political conflicts, the different regions of Sudan, and the upcoming referendum where the south will decide for unity or separation.
Met with Harriet one of the physicians and discussed the diseases prevalent in Aweil and the types of cases we will do.
Fred the acting head of mission and Hege, the HR arrived tonight after a 9 hour car ride from one of the sites.
Dinner was pasta made by Kerry and we watched clueless.