Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Jonglei - and more pictures!

On my recent trip up to Jonglei State we stopped at one of the cattle camps by the Nile to take pictures and attempt talk to people. There are thousands of cows at these camps sprinkled throughout Southern Sudan.
The people there were great and all the men, one by one, lined up to have their photos taken with their chosen cow. Not their wives, mind you, but their cows. I really should have invested in a polaroid camera so I could leave the people with something! Imagine seeing a picture of yourself for the very first time on a digital camera, and then having it taken away.
In addition, people take ash from burning cattle dung and rub it all over themselves and the cows to keep away insects.

It turns a greyish color on the skin.

The smell is intense to say the very least. However, it was very strange when I stepped with my Crocs (yes, I wear Crocs here. Screw you if you think they're dorky.) directly into a lovely concoction of cow shit and mud. I let it go for a bit, but then before climbing back into the vehicle spent a few minutes scraping the muck off my feet and leg. Of course there were quite a few people standing around the vehicle at that point, curious at the Khawajas, and when I looked up at one point I just thought, "Huh. These people are watching me carefully scrape this stuff off of me while they go out of their way to purposefully rub it onto themselves."

It's so interesting to see the differences across the different regions of this country. How the houses (tukuls) look,

the scenery, the people, the churches,

and yes, even the cows. The large structure on the left of the photo is the house for the cows and the one on the right is for the goats. The people sleep either outside or in a small hut out back. Shows you where people's values lie!

Driving back after the cattle camp we came across millions of cows being driven up the main road. I'm telling you, there were millions! The governor of Central Equitoria state told everyone tending cattle in his state to move to Jonglei, where there is tons more room, and it is where their part of the Dinka tribe is from. So there was a mass migration north, making our 5 hour drive actually take 6.
There was a separate migration once we got closer to Juba - the Mundari tribe was moving their cattle north from Juba to Terekeka County (still in Central Equitoria State). When we passed the herds of Dinka cattle they were very orderly and well behaved. The Mundari cattle, on the other hand, were all over the place! Wandering off the road, stopping in front of the vehicle and refusing to move, and just being ornery. Maybe they missed their breakfast that morning.


M.Lane said...

Amazing photos as always! I'm surprised that your vehicle in the road didn't start a stampede.

I certainly hope you are planning to put together a book of your photos and experiences. I think it would be very beautiful, interesting and instructive.

LOVE your comment re Crocs!


RyRy said...

I too would love a photo book of your experiences.

It's such a vicarious way for me to get to see parts of the world I will likely never have a chance to see.

Thanks so much Erin-chan for sharing with us and for being such a good narrator. You really bring the pictures, atmospheres and feelings to life.

Miss you (still)