Juba, located in South Sudan, is a small town. The Nile passes through with its brown water and continues further south. Most of the roads are dirty, sandy and extremely bumby. The streets are covered with various election propaganda, in less then two weeks, South Sudan will have its first election ever. The majority of the population in the South is Christian whereas in the Northern part of Sudan, it is predominantly Muslim.
Along the dusty roads just outside Juba Town, truck after truck with goods from Kampala or Nairobi are parked. The market offers anything you can possibly wish for, animals, fake handbags, gold, tiffins, clothes, toys, Iphones and Blackberry phones. Most of the goods come from Kenya, Uganda or other neighbouring countries. On dusty, sandy roads, buses run on a regular basis between Kampala, Entebbe and Juba, and also Nairobi.
It is only 170 km to Nimule Wildlife Park, near the Ugandan border, but the trip takes around five hours by car, due to the roads. It is so bumpy you actually lift from your seat several times. We pass by villages with their round houses and coneshaped grass roofs. laundry is hanging to dry in the hot sun, children are playing and animals are walking freely in the grass outside. The landscape is flat, however in the far, we can see mountains and green hills. It is green, even lush in some places. You do not wonder off in the bush, if you need to do your busienss, you stay by the road. The landmines are still causing a major problem, and red signes are posted on the trees along the road: "Warning- Mines".
As we are driving back from Nimule to Juba, we pass by large groups of children with their school uniforms and bags, and it makes my heart warm to know that despite living in a village in the middle of nowhere, they still have the opportunity to go to school.
On our way back, one of the front tyres goes flat and it takes the boys around half an hour to change it. The road is dusty and quiet, once in a while a truck with goods from Uganda or Kenya passess by, or a bus with people on their way to or from Juba.
After a quick visit to the market, we end up having lunch at the "Da Vinci" restaurant, a beautiful place just by the Nile River, with a perfect view. Large Mango trees provide shadow and it is all very quiet. The food is good but a bit expensive. Mostly expats come here, or people who work for the government. People with a bit of money. The restaurant is owned by a Norwegian guy and one wonders how you get the idea to start up a restaurant in Juba, of all places, but apparently, it goes very well.