Complications: Trip Update #2
Blake here. Well, after I thought we had decided on a plan, we’re likely already changing it. Thursday in Bor Town (remember we were planning to be in Juba still) there is a huge celebration related to official independence in July. Aparently, anybody who’s anybody is supposed to be there. The president, cabinet ministers, etc. Michael thinks it might be possible to get permission for us to go “behind the scenes” with access to the bigwigs. Lots of questions, not many answers, and it may end up that we take the long trip up only to find ourselves with no place to stay and pictures only of large crowds and long speeches. Sarah must be back by Friday evening for her flight to Amsterdam, which makes logistics really tight. On the other hand, it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.
To make things more interesting (and hopefully not too scary for those following at home) The North Sudan army just forcefully occupied Abyei a contested area near the border. It rightfully is South territory by treaty, so I suppose it’s not “contested”, but the north wants it anyway. And for the moment it has claimed it by force. Unfortunately for peace, it seems no one in the South will let Abyei go without a fight… this is the area that George Cloony has been concerned about. (see Sudan Now)
There is a big rally near the hotel tomorrow for the people to show solidarity with the Dinka in Abyei. We met a professor (Dinka) who has been teaching in Helsenki for many years. He took a flight the minute he heard the news and is right now at a meeting in the hotel to plan the protests. I have some doubts as to whether or not the celebration in Bor will even happen – though no one has said otherwise. We have been told, however, that security is now the top priority and that whatever was going to happen in Bor will likely be tempered by events in Abyei. Don’t worry about us – there is no indication that there is any danger here. The worst thing that could happen is that James’s flight is cancelled because it is routed through Kartom – he’s got insurance to cover that if it happens and there are other routes he can take.
And – we’re supposed to be building a school. I have absolutely no way to gauge if that is going to happen. Hopefully I can get an update on the foundation’s whereabouts tomorrow – though that seems like only one of possible things that could go wrong.
Yeah – the professor just got out of his meeting and is giving Sarah and James an interview.
It rained so hard yesterday that it even impressed the locals. There was a wedding at the hotel that abruptly ended when a huge clap of thunder opened the skys for a downpour that lasted hours. I’ve not seen an official monsoon rain – but this surely comes close. We had intermittent rain all night, but today has been beautiful. Though now, at 6:00, the clouds are gathering for another show. The professor better speak fast!
From the field,
Blake Clark, Executive Director