The First Day in Juba

Today’s blog is being posted out of order, since I couldn’t post it at the time the events were happening.  Tomorrows blog will be the one that was written immediately after it.

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Juba, South Sudan, seen from the air.

I’m writing this in advance, knowing I won’t have Internet for quite a while. I landed in Juba this afternoon, and immediately knew that taking pictures, while already becoming more difficult the last time I came, would be even more tenuous.
We had tried to make arrangements to have proper paperwork for taking pictures in the country, but were told that since I was going for missionary work and not as a journalist, I didn’t need papers so long as I didn’t take pictures of bridges, the military,etc. (see the post on staying out of trouble.) Well, evidently that info was not correct. I should have been told, “you might have a really hard time entering the country if you have a really big camera.”
Fortunately, someone was there from the aid organization we were with who was a South Sudanese citizen who could vouch for me that I was with a church group and not a news organization. I was able to bring my camera into the country, but I’m going to have to be very careful when I use it.  Consequently my small camera is getting a lot of use, and I’m glad I upgraded before I came on this trip. Nevertheless, I’m feeling a bit discouraged right now, but still glad I was able to get my camera into the country.  Not sure what I would have done otherwise. I’m also unsure as to whether the customs agent was looking for a bribe, but I’m frankly ignorant on this kind of thing.
We took a small plane into our base location today out of Juba. It was about a forty minute flight, and it was a first for me, as I’ve always gone by road before. This, I found out, was very fortunate. The wet season isn’t quite over, and what is normally four hours by road now takes two days. One thing I will tell you, is if you have the chance to fly somewhere as opposed to driving, take it. It’s far safer, and won’t leave you completely beat up afterward.

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