I licenced my bike! After making “friends” with a lot of traffic police. No fines, just lots of awkward chat. Which was almost as bad, sometimes, but many of them were pretty happy just to have a chat to a white woman clearly learning how to work gears with her foot.
Surreal trip up to Majok Yithiau (Mile 14! Thanks, insurance company!) with the US Ambassador Susan Page, who is a legend, and remembered me from Juba. She commented that my freckles had come back with a vengeance. Dammit! This is HE Ambassador Susan, role model, with the border Peace Committee, including Misseriya and Rizeigat.
I’ve been trying to meet Governor Paul Malong to present my credentials, and the latest RVI publication, “My Mother Will Not Come to Juba”, based on the conference series I organised in March and for which my doodles were used! But I seem to be stood up each time, and have to sit, watching his ostriches walk around the compound. One of them once came up to me and just eyeballed me directly, from two metres away, for ten minutes. I was scared to move.
And finally, an embarrassing one. I will make a huge donation to MSF as soon as I’m back in the UK. I had such a huge sore open up on my ankle, after I realised it had swollen to twice its size with no pain (spider bite symptom! sigh!). I went to one of the Aweil pharmacies, which seem to stock only steroids, antibiotics, and paracetamol, and they said “yes it was a brown spider”, which gives me little direction as to which ones to kill in my room (killing all of them will just increase the flies and mosquitoes issue). And it was so huge, and attracting flies and generally acting like a really enthusiastically green infected sore, that I went to the local MSF-run hospital, where I was treated with slap-handed enthusiasm by a dresser, who found my squeals of pain amusing. But he was excellent, and it’s down to a one-centimetre scab now. So, moral of story: free healthcare exists in South Sudan; if you are white in an MSF hospital you will be asked in arabic to help (aaagh! most awkward part!) with a stitch-up of someone’s half-hanging-off lip; and don’t leave little spider bites to fester, or generally, any bites. Bad news.