Geography, and re-learning Juba

I’ve just moved back to Juba, after a few weeks’ break in the UK, and I’m realising I know very little about this town other than that I can get a $4 sticky toffee pudding for breakfast.

That’s maybe an exaggeration. But in the process of starting up interviews again with returned Khartoum residents around Juba, I’m finding whole new neighbourhoods (and local names) I’ve never heard of before. So now I’m working on building a map of Juba that’s becoming similar to my now-ragged map of Khartoum – complete with arrows, notes and scribbled lines.

my huge Khartoum map being pored over in Apada, Aweil

I already knew that popular knowledge of Juba depends on who you work for and your income, particularly as a foreigner. Having lived in Munuki for about 8 months – which is towards Godele, a conglomerate of suburbs mainly formed from returning Khartoum populations – I know that general UN/international agency knowledge of Juba stops when the tarmac stops. Most people who drove me home had never been down that road, or heard of my neighbourhood.

But I’m now pushing the boundaries of my comfortable middle-class knowledge of Juba, and adding new suburbs to my knowledge and bus route savvy. These are mainly the bits beyond the mountain, so to speak – the expansion along the Godele and Yei roads behind Jebel Kujur. Godele, which used to be Godele 1 and 2, now stretches up to 7, and has almost reached the IDP camp out past Kapuri. Even the locals in Godele 7 are not sure where people have settled up to, now – and these are ‘locals’ who settled in Godele 7 about 18 months ago.

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Filed under Academia, Africa, South Sudan, Travel

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