Beginning From Scratch After 2013 War In South Sudan

The increasing numbers of people using the popularly known boda bodas [Motor bikes] for transport in Jonglei State has led to an increase in the number of those joining the business.

Beginning From Scratch After 2013 War In South Sudan
Peter Mabior Wut Who lost 13 motor bikes during the 2013 war [Photo by Jacob Achiek ]

By Jacob Achiek

BOR, 14 January 2016 [Gurtong] – The increasing numbers of people using the popularly known boda bodas [Motor bikes] for transport in Jonglei State has led to an increase in the number of those joining the business.

The daily earning depends on the agreement between the motor bike rider and the owner of the bike on what amount to be paid per day.

Peter Mabior Wut, 43 years of age setup a boda boda business in Bor some 3 years back. He owned 13 motor bikes for the business.

Wut said that before the 2013 war broke out in South Sudan he would earn a total of 750 South Sudanese Pounds per day from all his motor cycles of which he could only use 150 pounds then bank the rest.

With his life all figured out he decided to marry and take his young brother to university where he is pursuing a degree in medicine at Moi University in Kenya.

However, came 2013 and all his motor cycles were looted during the crisis, his house burnt to ashes and money he had saved disappeared in the process.

“My motorcycles were looted, and the house was burnt down to ashes and the money I saved disappeared during the displacement of people from Bor to refugee camps in northern Uganda. I was left with nothing during that time,” Mabior Wut told Gurtong.

Years gone by now he realized that there was relative calm in Bor and so decided to return and embark once again in his old business.
He now owns two motor cycles that he bought at 12,000 South Sudanese pounds each to kick start his business.

“Although I was affected a lot, I can recover all of the properties that had gotten lost during the war. Recovering of wealth is not like getting a new life. I think all will one day come back,” He said.

He said that the lost motorcycles cost him more than 60,000 South Sudanese pounds to buy from Juba.

He said that in 2012, the motorcycles he bought helped him to create employment to the redundant youth who were having no jobs, one of the achievements he is proud of.

Wut says when he fully gets back on his feet he would like to offer the youth who have no jobs to operate his boda boda business.

Another resident of Bor who was also affected by the crisis Yar Thon Deng, also started her business from scratch in Bor town.

The 32 year old says her tea business has helped support her family through the years.

Yar said that she began her business in 2012 before it was interrupted by the civil war that broke out in mid-December 2013.

“By then I could get one hundred pounds a day and spend more than 60 pounds for food consumption and other business expenses such as milk powder, sugar and tea leaves. All those cost me 30 pounds a day and i could still afford to save 10 pounds,” She said.

According to her, before the war she had managed to save up to 2,000south Sudanese pounds within a period of just three months.

However her business could not continue after the war because she had to run with her family to safer areas. The money she saved was then used to transport her family during that period.

Her family had to move from Bor to Lakes State in December 2013 and the following year to Uganda where she says was safer than being within the country.
Later in September 2014 Yar moved back to Bor with her family as there was relative calm returning to the area.

She began to work at a restaurant where she was earning 20 south Sudanese pounds per day. After saving up the money to about 600 south Sudanese pounds she went back to her old business of selling tea.

According to her it makes her 150 pounds a day since she re-opened the business.

“I am now sitting under this tree which is a resting place for many people and I am selling them tea from here now. Now I can save 30 pounds a day because of the country’s economic crisis which have affected all businesses,” She has said.

YAr is optimistic that with the signing of the peace agreement in South Sudan things will change for the better in the near future.


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