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Seeing in the new year, Juba-style…

The week between christmas and new year was a bit of a drag, to be honest. With almost all of the staff off on holiday, I found myself running around doing lots of admin type things that aren’t really my department, if you know what I mean. Well technically they are my department, seeing as admin is part of operations but you catch my drift.

There was still guards to check on, and cleaners to allocate, people coming and going with flights and cars to organise. I managed to get one powerpoint written, and I think I answered a few emails about logistics stuff but my main memory of the time was running around the office compound looking for jerry cans… and then repeatedly spilling diesel on my flip-flopped feet when I’d found them. Some people shouldn’t be allowed near dangerous chemicals, and I’m one of them.

There were a few security incidents in the field that we had to deal with – not directed at us, but we

managed to get in the way, as it were. There is sometimes a saving grace with knowing that most of your staff aren’t on base. The guys in the field dealt admirably with the situations, so all we had to do was to write a few reports and keep our collective ear to the ground. New Year approached with a mix of excitement, indecisiveness and trepidation: indecisiveness as the Joint Donors (bunch of donors who all have a compound together) had invited us to a party but it would probably be a sleepover job – and a sleepover on the floor/sofa at that. We had heard loads of stories about how last year the entire city erupted with gunfire at dawn – not in battle but in celebration.

But the decision was taken out of our hands when SPLA – the army – declared a 10pm curfew in the city, with foot patrols to enforce it. We decided that although the Joint Donors is pretty plush, even being able to drink the water out of the showers would wear off as a novelty if we had to be there all night and it wasn’t any fun, so we met those irrepressile Mercy Corps bods for an early dinner by the Nile and pootled off home to watch The Wire. Not massively exciting, but we were so engrossed that when someone mentioned that it was midnight, we could barely tear ourselves away from the screen to raise a ‘woohoo!’.

Which only makes us sound like proper losers, but if you’ve watched The Wire, then maybe you’ll understand. Still went to bed late expecting to be woken by the sound of gunfire and continue my sleep under the bed, but obviously the curfew was a great idea as the only thing that woke me was the dog barking at about 9, which as far as I’m concerned is a top notch start to the new year.

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