Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wau is Wow!

Earlier this week I spent 3 days setting up a new program in the "city" of Wau which is the capital of Western Bar El Ghazal state. Bar El Ghazal means "river of the gazelle" - pretty, no? Below are some pictures from the trip.

I have to say, it is pretty disconcerting when your plane is about to land and you can see two crashed planes just next to the dirt airstrip...

Wau was one of the last places to be handed over to the Government of Southern Sudan after the signing of the CPA. There are more arabs in Wau and people speak and read Arabic (rather than Juba Arabic which is a mixture of arabic and bari, one of the local languages, and is spoken throughout the rest of the south). Most of people who fled during the war from Wau went to Khartoum rather than Uganda or Kenya, and most of the returnees are therefore from Khartoum.

Joint Integrated Unit gate (JIU is the combined army division with personnel and commanders from both the north's army and the SPLA).

Crashed Iraqi Airlines plane a little farther away from the airport

People who saw me taking pictures and wanted their picture taken. All three of them were smiling, joking, and very happy, but when i was going to actually take the picture they straightened up and put a very stern look on their faces. Normal in Southern Sudan because people think it seems more formal. Don't know if you can see it, but the man has the v-shaped markings of his tribe scarred on his forehead.

Cows being hearded across the bridge from the Eastern Bank of the river Jur into Wau town.

Brickmaking on the banks of the river Jur - doesn't it look like they're building pyramids?

View from Wau River Lodge where I stayed

In Juba, most of the fences around people's property are made of bamboo. In Wau, bamboo is not widely available, so people weave fences out of grass.

Random sculpture of an ear of corn at one of the roundabouts in town

Such a positive and inspirational message, no?

Instead of boda bodas (motorbikes), Wau has rickshaws (pronounced "rakshas") which are really the same tuk tuks you find in India. There are swarms of them all over the place!

All in all Wau was fantastic, and was a nice break from Juba. It's great to get out in the field and get your hands dirty (literally - the place is covered in dust!)


sligo said...

i continue to be thankful for your work (oddly phrased, i know, but sincere). i know your time is precious, and you may have answered this question before, but how is it that you are able to post, to upload your pictures, etc, when you are in such remote locations?

i wish you peace and protection.

Petunia said...

Sligo, Southern Sudan my not have paved roads or a functioning education system, but what it does have are a mobile phone network and high speed internet! There is no other option, so any businesses or NGOs that need internet pay to set up their own satellite dish to receive internet. I have wireless at the place I live, my office in Juba, our office in Wau, etc. So posting is really no trouble at all. Thanks for visiting :)

sligo said...

excellent! for you and for us!

looking forward to the day your book comes out...because, you WILL be writing a book, right? because, i'm certain you have a helluva story to tell that goes beyond your blog, right?

as far as visiting PIP, you're welcome; i stop by all the time.