A Quiet Easter in the Capital
Just before the Easter week, I left my little home in Bor and flew to Juba (yes, the capital of South Sudan for now). The UN flights are scarce, and we are not allowed to go on commercial flights (read: charter planes) and not allowed to go by road either (even if Juba is just a mere 3 hours by car from Bor), so I had to spend a whole week in Juba to catch the next one back home.
|Our only means of escape.|
I wasn’t very happy at all, not only because I’ve now settled in Bor and I can finally call our base camp my home, but also because the guest house in Juba doesn’t have wifi. So I can’t chat late into the night and watch Friends episodes on YouTube. And boredom can kill.
But one of the nice things Juba has and Bor doesn’t is the big western supermarket with all the goodies my heart desires. In a place like this, a well-stocked supermarket like Jit is like an amusement park for an expat, and you could spend hours going from one aisle to the next, reveling at the different brands of biscuits and bath soap and food seasoning . . . I even found myself getting so ecstatic when I found Pantene shampoo with matching conditioner on the shelf. Ah, life’s simple pleasures. That’s what’s good about being in a place like this. You get to appreciate the simple pleasures of life that you often ignore at home. And here’s the best thing, I found Datu Puti (a Philippine brand) soy sauce and vinegar on sale, and man, did it almost give me a heart attack! Now where to find pork so I can cook adobo and indoctrinate my colleagues on Filipino cuisine?
But on my last night in Juba, I ate pork at a Chinese restaurant. It’s such a long time since I last ate this one heck of a tasty animal. Can’t seem to find it in Bor. It’s one thing that is making me fail to adjust to life in Sudan, for I love pork, and if I don’t eat it for a long period of time, I go into fits of convulsion. Just kidding. Oh, the thought of bacon and chorizo and humba and chicharon—kill me now.
Fishing For Condoms!
Anyway, I got tired of going round and round the supermarket so I decided to join the guys (my colleagues) at the Nile to catch some fish. Needlessly to say, I was excited! After my river experience in Bor, where I ran into all those naked men swimming in the water, I thought I was in for another great treat! Maybe this time I’d meet a real, credible Dinka man who would not only offer me a thousand cows, but also a nice home and a position in the new government of Sudan, and who has enough money to buy for me a private island on the Nile (if there are such islands) to which we can escape every now and then—okay, that’s wishful thinking.
So we went to the river, and it’s a total opposite of what I experienced in Bor. No, this time I didn’t run into crowds of naked women. It was a very uneventful trip. I was bored all the time. And the guys who were fishing, they didn’t catch any fish! To think we were there for five hours and I almost finished an entire case of Coca-Colas.
|And I thought we were going to have fish for dinner.|
Instead, they caught loads of condoms! It’s as if every time they threw the hook into the water, they fished out a condom! It makes you wonder how these condoms got onto the hooks. It’s not like they are alive and took the bait like real fish! Or maybe they are alive in a way we can’t understand, but I won’t delve into that. Anyway, the current was fast, and the water had a lot of rubbish, which is how the stuff got onto the hooks in the first place.
Of course, they were used condoms. You wouldn’t expect one that’s been torn out of its packet to be unused. But what were they doing in the water? Why were there so many condoms in there? Do people here do it on the riverbanks? Do these have a connection with the crowd of naked men I saw in Bor? Or well, maybe someone had a big party and ran out of balloons!
It certainly wasn’t an experience to write home about, this fishing trip, not like the first one at all. Apart from the condoms finding their way onto the hooks, which inspired me to at least write something about it, nothing else happened.