I can’t believe we are still stranded in Juba! We were told yesterday’s flights were full, and the Sudanese Airways flight we were booked on yesterday after the Tues one was cancelled, was also cancelled and no one seems to know why. Charter flights are too expensive… around 40,000SSP (south Sudan pounds which are about 5 to 1GBP, so that’s about £8,000). We are all very frustrated and disappointed as it’s such a waste of valuable time to be stuck here, although the surroundings are pleasant enough. There seems to be unpredictability about when and if flights will go, and it’s very frustrating as we are powerless to influence this. Dr Loi came to see us yesterday evening and the Ministry appear to be trying hard to get flights sorted. Dr Majok in Wau tells me he has already booked our return flights to Juba for next Friday, but the staff at Wau hospital and the training institutes are very disappointed that we have not yet arrived.
We’ve been making the most of the spare time and have been working on teaching programmes etc and today Judy has gone to Juba teaching hospital to spend the day in theatre. Antoinette has the inevitable tummy bug, and the rest of us took the opportunity to walk to Juba market this morning: very bustling and busy and full of interesting sights and smells. We were told it was quite safe to go there, the main and real danger being from the chaotic traffic!! On the walk back we got talking to a young man of 21 (who had been a boy soldier at 9) and whose father had been killed in the Sudan civil war; he had gone with his mother to California so that he could study. He is now a qualified engineer, and was on his way home from an unsuccessful job interview. There seems to us to be a desperate need for skilled people to work here, and yet this qualified young man, who is desperate for a job, is unable to get one.
We are keeping our fingers crossed for tomorrow’s early flight on a different airline… so watch this space!!!
- Hilary scores 9/10 at Judy’s practice suturing workshop, using chamois and adhesive cork tiles!!!!