Thursday, May 15, 2008

Yei for Free Rice

Yei is a town about xx kilometers southwest of Juba, and it is absolutely beautiful. The rains started there long before they started here (speaking of rains, they are very slow this year in coming to Juba!), so everything is lush and green. The dirt airstrip was so small that you can't even see it properly from looking out of the side of the airplane, so it is a bit disconcerting when you are decending what seems to be directly into the jungle. Highlights of the trip included feeding a lolipop to a pet monkey named Max, finally getting to walk around instead of being driven around in a land cruiser, actually having a fabulous night's sleep because it is cool enough, and learning that if you crush the leaves of a teak tree, it produces a red dye that you can use as nail polish.

On the drive back to Juba we passed the first primary school built in Southern Sudan, the place where the late John Garang went to school. It didn't even look that old. It's crazy to think that schools are considered a modern invention here in Sudan.

I saw Salva Kiir this morning, the President of Southern Sudan driving by us on the way to a meeting at the Ministries - his caravan is only a few cars long, and although he has bodyguards that hang out the otherwise tinted windows of the SUVs, he keeps his own window open and his trademark hat on so that he can wave to people. So you can literally see the President, not just the motorcade, when he passes. Given the history of the country I personally would be crouched down in a ball on the floor, but you have to give the man props.

Right after seeing the Prez, I got a call that Simba had to be flown to Nairobi to go to the hospital. He has typhoid for sure (two tests came back positive), but there's something else wrong as well because he had a killer headache and fever that wouldn't go away. So off he goes for a week in Nairobi to rest with his family. I have to admit I'm just a little bit jealous :)

My mom sent me this link - - where you can play a multiple choice vocabulary game and for every word you get right the sponsors of the website donate free rice to the UN World Food Program. Pretty cool!

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