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First month in Southern Sudan

After a relatively smooth journey I arrived in Juba, Southern Sudan to a landscape greener than I’d expected, but still quite hot and dusty. I’m in the only guest house with air conditioning, although we don’t normally have power during the day much so it’s mostly beneficial for making sleeping at night easier . It is also very near the office which is convenient and helped me to get my bearings.

Everyone has been very friendly and helpful. Many staff returned to or transited through Juba for the election period so I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of field based staff which is great. At the moment I’m mostly working on assets and inventory as well as spending time with each department within Operations to learn how things work here. I will be heading off to the field soon which I’m really looking forward to.

The roads in Juba are less congested than other African countries I’ve been to, but it still feels vibrant and busy. I have been out to some supermarkets to get food quotes. It’s interesting as most of the supermarkets are small but well stocked with everyday items. JIT, the biggest supermarket, has a wonderfully bizarre range of goods available. It ranges from padlocks to the most diverse selection of biscuits I have ever seen in one place. We got a little lost looking for a supermarket, which was fun as we found another one that was on our list completely by accident.

I’m very grateful for the knowledge of the procurement department as locating suppliers is difficult. They are there, but it’s hard to identify them when you first arrive as most of them don’t have street addresses. Tomorrow I’m going with one of the procurement officers to get quotes for some items needed by our nutrition team for the emergency response in Akobo.

The food here is good. I have discovered the local plantain dish, which is called Matoke. I tend to have it most days for lunch with some goat and sauce. I wasn’t really prepared for the amount of western and Asian food that is available here. Some evenings it feels like you could be in a restaurant in any British city, except for the heat.

The rainy season is definitely beginning. It started with a few half hearted 3-minute showers but has progressed to some really heavy downpours. I can really appreciate why access is such a problem for large parts of Southern Sudan during the rainy season having seen the effect it’s had on the unsurfaced roads in Juba.

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