Monday, 23 May 2011

Riding Shotgun

Juba International 

The newest nation in the world, a land that has been ravaged by years of war and is trying to get to get back on it's own two feet. Yeah you guessed it, Southern Sudan, yet to know what they'll call themselves on their official day of independence coming up on July 9th 2011. Haven't been here very long but there's a few things that I've observed in my first week here.

First thing that hits you- literally when you touch down is the heat, was a nice 'cool' 29 degrees when I got here, I'm told I came at a good time during the rainy season when the temperatures are a bit mild otherwise I'd be toasting somewhere around the forties. Hmm perhaps this sun explains the dark complexion that is so prevalent here- by the way there are some who are light skinned and I'm not talking about foreigners, was actually surprised!

Another thing is that is the land is flat and not like the plains we have back home in Kenya. In Juba there are a number of hills around but in some places you look all around and there's not so much as a mound in sight. Probably why the White Nile meanders lazily around the countryside- another thing contrary to what I expected there's a lot of greenery, naturally around the river but even inland it's not a total desert.

The people I've met are pretty friendly though quite a number have war experience so you've got to be careful lest you get yourself in a brawl. Oh and many have been to Kenya to school so it's easy to find people to speak Kiswahili with. About the way experience there's this guy who was telling us how he learnt to use an AK- 47 as a child and how they would shoot each other jokingly not knowing the finality of the bullet. They thought the person shot would come back shock on them when he didn't. There's a lot of evidence of war in crashed aeroplanes near airstrips, wrecked vehicles etc but though it's peaceful right now there are some areas with some tension in the especially in the Northern parts near the border.

On my second night here got the privilege to spent some time in the wilderness at Kauda near the Nuba mountains, one of the places where there could be some tension. When I asked if there are any wild animals about the answer was no, all that bombardment during the way pretty much scared them away. The wilderness experience was pretty interesting particularly showering under the stars expressed to the elements. Also managed to scale a nearby hill with my captain to get a wider view and discovered not only a breathtaking view but how unfit I was! One of the local officials managed to get us some accommodation with Samaritan's purse a relief organisation in that area. Their camp was pretty nice with creature comforts like internet and electricity but unfortunately the net was down when we got there but hey not too bad to be unplugged from the matrix.
Sunset over the Nuba Mountains from atop the hill

Traditional huts in Kauda

Samaritan's Purse at Kauda our gracious hosts

A typical scene this one was at Yuai

When there I got to learn a little nugget, the origin of the phrase 'riding shotgun'. Back in the 'old west' in America the horse driven coaches would have somebody would sit at the front with the driver- if that's the correct term and you guessed it he'd have a shotgun to deal with any miscreants they'd meet on the way be it bandits or disgruntled locals. Well you learn something new every day! After my little adventure it was back to riding shotgun in the Cessna Caravan!

See you all in a few!


  1. You be having interesting adventures. I'm envious :-) What are the people like? Heard any interesting folkore/legends?

  2. The people are cool yet to hear any legends...

  3. It would be lovely to stumble across a few lovely tales :-) And oh, I'm curious about their cuisine too...