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Monday, April 29, 2013


Now I have always appreciated local wildlife everywhere I have been in all my travels. I love birds particularly, cats, dogs, cows with funny horns, name it. I have even been interested in bugs, especially strange and unusual ones, however, I have never, ever, ever found room in my heart for cockroaches!!! I hate everything about them, especially the way they move in that cockroachy, scuttery, trying to hide kind of way! And the noise and mess they make when you squash them........yuk! So I have felt particularly under attack this week as we have had no less that 5 in our room. How is it that they can still move after being sprayed several times with toxic chemicals which send me and my DH into fits of coughing? And why do their legs still twitch when you do eventually see them stop running? And why oh why do they run behind the wardrobe and I can't tell if they are dead or hiding, ready to make another bid for freedom as soon as my back is turned?
Today, Sarah, the lovely lady who cleans the room found 3 dead bodies behind the wardrobe so at least I know they are not going to scare me again. And yes, one of them was still twitching!!!
When I get to heaven I'm going to ask God.....why cockroaches???

Monday, April 15, 2013

The story so far....

Back in Juba now after a lovely time in England, albeit VERY cold! I wasn't expecting it to be soooo cold and I wasn't able to do as many walks as I would have liked but it was great to see some signs of spring before I left.
It's a bit cooler here than when I left which is nice and I must say one of the good things about being back is being able to wear less clothes! I was wearing several layers, plus my Eskimo coat, hat, gloves, scarf, boots etc at home ( will try to attach a photo) and now I'm in summer dresses and sandals.

There is a lot of building work going on at the hotel here so I make it my duty to do daily inspections of the work.....for health and safety reasons of course....not that I'm nosy or anything. They are building some 3 bedroomed villas on the adjoining plot, with a swimming pool, very interesting.......I want one!
Also lots of political 'stuff' going on. We arrived in Kenya in the day of the new president's inauguration. Fortunately it was all over by the time we landed so the airport was normal. Not so the following day when we returned to the airport to get our flight to Juba. Seemed there were lots of 'important' people leaving, presumably having enjoyed the post inauguration bash the night before, and at one point we were asked by some security bods to stand aside while said 'important' people passed by. Anyway, us not very important people did as we were told and then carried on with our shopping. Two days after we arrived back in Juba, the president of Sudan decided to pay a visit. Fortunately he let us know of his plans in advance so we could avoid the town as (so our colleagues who didnt get the memo informed us) lots of roads were closed and security chaps were stopping everyone and checking vehicles for weapons. My clever DH worked at the hotel that day!
Hopefully I will get back into my routine this week, going to the girls centre, doing some shopping in town as well as checking the pool temperature .....oh yes ...and site inspections.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Let sleeping dogs lie.

Tuesday morning, having a lazy morning, didn't get up for breakfast. When DH went out at seven am the compound dog (Freda) came running over and was allowed into our room. She comes in sometimes, just for a rest and usually curls up on the mat, or on the tiled floor if she is very hot, and just sleeps. She has a busy life, being the best friend of a six year old boy, so she does need a place to hide from time to time.
She has been here almost 2 hours now but I don't want to get up in case I disturb her!
Not much to do anyway as I have packed my case and organised my hand luggage as i am going home tomorrow!!! Have a shopping list ready for this afternoon, after I have had lunch with my DH. When the dog wakes up I might have a swim.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Wrong type of rain?

My DH has been taking some early morning exercise lately (him being a morning person), consisting of jogging around the tennis court in the semi-darkness. Yesterday during the course of this activity he felt a few drops of rain on his head and headed back to the room before he got too wet. Then he noticed that the ground wasnt even wet, the rain had evaporated before even reaching the ground! What's the point of that then? Does that even count as rain?
Today started cool and cloudy and then it rained. Proper rain this time, the wet kind. Didn't last long though and within minutes the ground was dry again, leaving no evidence of precipitation whatsoever within the compound. The market however, was a different story. As I wandered around selecting my salad ingredients I tried to avoid several puddles (of the wet variety) failing miserably just as I spotted the cucumber. Nursing one soggy, muddy sandal, (and a cucumber)  I squelched my way over to the tomatoes and then headed home. Said sandal is now drying in the hot afternoon sun on my patio........I don't fancy salad now......

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

And more dust!

I know I am British and so love to talk about the weather, but honestly there is such a lot of weather to talk about these days. This is the middle of the dry season but it does rain now and then. We had rain last night after dinner and it was so exciting I had to go outside and stand in it. Our neighbour was out looking at the spectacle as well....and he's French! It didnt last long and it didn't really cool things down at all but it was refreshing in a way.
Today it is VERY windy and there is so much dust in the air. All the poor chaps working out in the grounds here at the hotel are suffering with watery, stinging eyes. The expats who normally work at a table under a tree have retreated to their rooms or the restaurant, dust isn't good for computers either.
I am sure this wind is bad enough to do damage, so i'm thinking about people whose houses are not very secure, roofs might be blown off, fences might be blown down etc. I am so safe here in my bubble.

Yesterday I was at the girls' centre having fun with the kids and balloons and story books. Just as I was leaving one of the little ones (Kedende, my favourite, although i know i shouldn't have one) got upset about something i didnt see. She took off her clothes and threw herself on the floor of the compound and rolled around in the dirt and stones crying her head off. I have seen kids have tantrums in supermarkets at home of course, but the poor child seemed unconsolable, even when one of the other volunteers and I tried to sit her up and dust her off. I am told Kidende has a 'troubled' past, goodness sake she is only 5 or 6 years old, she shouldnt have had so much trouble already in her little life.  Her behaviour is not untypical however, these girls all have difficult histories and have never really known loving responses from adults to modify their behaviour and teach them about trust and safety.  Hopefully given time and love at the centre, they will all learn to feel loved and safe.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Birds and dust.

Just back from a very pleasant bird watching trip. Still very hazy in the mornings so not great light conditions for birding plus lots of dust from passing trucks once we turned off the tarmac road. Took me a while to persuade my DH to have a trip out but he seemed to enjoy it once we were out there. It wasn't too hot and we didn't have to go too far out of town before we spotted loads of egrets and ibis not far from the roadside in a patch of wet ground. I was afraid to take my binoculars (so many security issues here, people will stop and ask what you are looking at, not always in a friendly way) so there were a lot of birds I couldn't identify. All in all though, a nice trip and just good to get out of the city.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Kite flying

Another hot, hazy day in Juba. Myself and my DH (darling husband to those who are not familiar with this blog) were in the pool at the hotel this morning, feeling very chilled out and refreshed by the cool water. We saw the kites circuling on thermals in the distance and then they got closer....and closer.... then they were directly above us in the pool, at times only 8-10 metres above our heads, they started swooping and diving around. It was spectacular, almost as if it was choreographed! Moments like that make being here much more of an adventure.