A Day Off: Update #6
Not much action today. I spent a couple hours trying to get Michael’s flight changed, and we’ll spend some more time tomorrow. We were able to located his itinerary and reservation number online as well as the phone number of his travel agent in Nebraska, two pieces of information we didn’t have when we started.
Tomorrow is Sarah’s last day in South Sudan. She is headed next to photograph SOCAP, an international conference on Social Capital Investment in Amersterdam. To see her off, we toasted her with our first taste of African beer. The brand was Tusker and it was nothing to write home about. Ha.
Michael and Dennis went off somewhere to discuss transportation and other logistics of getting us all up to Jalle. It’s looking like I might get to drive the second car! Michael will be staying in Juba to wait for the foundation to arrive at the border. I will call the shipping agent tomorrow for an update. Michael must walk the foundation through Sudan customs with our exemption letter to avoid paying steep import duties. I’m not sure what the final plan is, but we can’t stay in Juba much longer as it is quite expensive.
Sarah is leaving James and me with some of the camera equipment she wanted to use in Jalle. She wants to get cameras in the hands of the people of Jalle to record their own point of view as the school takes shape. We’ll do our best, it’s a great idea!
I don’t know how much information is getting out on the situation in Abyei. The northern army is moving to take control of more territory in the “disputed” region. We get as much propaganda and facts here, but as far as we can tell the South is not planning a counter attack unless the northern army moves beyond Abyei. The South is looking to the international community to put pressure on the North to honor the Abyei agreement and hold a special referendom as required. Meanwhile, we here reports of thousands of people streaming south out of the line of fire. The owner of the hotel where we are staying has donated food and medicine to aid the refugees.
Everyone at the front desk thought it was funny that I brought my laundry down in a big yellow bag. The women thought it was even funnier that the assistant manager (a man) took it from me and carried it out to the laundry area. A small victory for gender equality or another stupid American?
From the field,
Blake Clark, Executive Director