South Sudan Safari - Episode 8 (MP3)

Angelo Gola:"Juba is actually a great town with a scenic view all around the city and people are very friendly and welcoming.... There are also many businesses in Juba that make me feel proud; people are crazy about undertaking their small scale businesses around and this has really impressed me."

South Sudan Safari - Episode 8

 

Views of the Residents of Juba on the State of the Town 
Welcome to South Sudan Safari. I am Christine Dario and I am Chris Olet. In this 8th edition of South Sudan Safari, we will be listening to views of how visitors, returnees, business people, residents and diplomats feel and view Juba town and how they feel it should be improved.

Silvanos Batali had a chance to interview the Royal Norwegian Consulate General, Jan Ledang, on his view about Juba. He begun by asking him to introduce himself.

Jan Ledang: My name is Ian Ledang. I am the Norwegian Consulate General. We have a Consulate General in South Sudan, and we have an embassy in Khartoum. I am heading the Consulate here in Juba.

Batali: Can you send greetings on behalf of our listeners?

Jan: Yes. On behalf of the Norwegian Government and the people of Norway, I have the pleasure to I greet you all out there and acknowledge the cordial relationship that has always existed between Norway and South Sudan. I am very happy to be with you today.

Batali: Could you tell us some of the things you are doing?

Jan: First, you know Norway has been here for many years represented by the Norwegian Church Aid, who people out there, know and remember quite well. Norwegian Church Aid, Norwegian Peoples Aid and the Norwegian Refugee Council are Norwegian organisations in South Sudan. We are a big donor nation to South Sudan and at least we have been a part, or a partner in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). My main objective is to follow up on issues like development in South Sudan and particularly to see that the peace process and the implementation of CPA is going on well. So on regular basis, I report to politicians and to the Norwegian People about development in South Sudan.

Batali: So you have been involved uplifting South Sudan even been before the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement?

Jan: Yes I have. Actually, I have been here for two years now. During the war, I was here in South Sudan for a short period of 6 months. I was then heading the UNICEF office here in Juba. So as you can see, I have been here before. All in all, I have been here for two and a half years here in South Sudan.

Batali: What do like most about South Sudan and in particular Juba as its capital?

Jan: First, I like the people of South Sudan. I have to say that I love to be here and there is never a boring day in South Sudan. So many things are happening and I have so many good friends. I also love your traditions, culture, the people and their mentality.

Batali: Perhaps you may have some dislikes about Juba, can you also say something about it?

Jan: (laughs) I would say, not much. Now, I have a motorbike ‘senke’ and so I am also one of the motorbikes riders around. What I dislike is the traffic indiscipline that I see quite frequently. This is quite risky, though fun at times, but I would like to see more discipline amongst all motorists apart from the motorbike riders.

Batali: What about the garbage eyesore?

Jan: Yes. That too but you know garbage is not a main focus for me though as might know, most of the western people like living in clean environments. It could be a challenge for the locals not to throw all the garbage anywhere, but it would be good if proper waste disposal systems are put in place and hygienic standards followed to the latter.

Batali: What would you wants to see improved or done to improve the status of Juba?

Jan: I have to say that the neediest should be given more attention since they are residents of this town just like others. The Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and the disadvantaged have not benefited from the peace process yet. I have a small family which I support myself; a grandmother taking care of two small girls. The two girls are total orphans having lost their parents to the HIV/AIDS scourge some years back and I am the only supporter of the family. My heart really feels for the needy whom I feel should be given more attention even before improving the infrastructure.

Batali: Am  quite that during the period of your stay in Juba you have been  able to learn some local dialects; whether Arabic or the local languages and you can be able to greet somebody in Arabic, do you think you can do that?

Jan: Now you have challenged me very much! I have not actually learnt either and I will just make a fool of myself. However, I can say something in Norwegian (speaks in Norwegian).

Batali: What does it mean?

Jan: I was conveying greetings to the local residents in Norwegian from the Norwegian people.

Batali: Thank you very much.

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Clement Lochio Lomornana met a South Sudanese returnee from the United States of America and asked him first to identify himself to Gurtong listeners.

Gola: My name is Angelo Gola Elpunyamoi. I am a member of Budi in the Diaspora, United States of America. I am a Sudanese who has been living in the USA for 17 years and before that I lived in Nairobi, Kenya, for seven years.

Clement: Can you please greet Gurtong listeners in your dialect?

Gola: Oh yes. Those who really, the Didinga are found in Eastern Equatoria, on the Sudan-Kenya, Sudan-Ethiopia and Sudan-Uganda borders. I am going to start by saying in the Didinga language (speaks in Didinga). That means ‘greetings to you all’ and I think that’s it. Those who really understand Didinga will share that greeting.

Clement: Can you please say ‘listeners of Gurtong welcome to Gurtong radio’ in your dialect?

Gola: Oh yes. I may start by saying (speaks in Didinga).

Clement: Are you a resident, visitor or a tourist here?

Gola: I am coming back from the Diaspora with the intention of re-uniting with my family members after being away for 24 years. Some of my family members died during the war and some through natural illness. My intention to come is to re-unite with those who are still alive here in South Sudan.

Clement: Are you only here for a re-union or for other businesses?

Gola: Well, am coming here to settle. There is peace in the country it is also good for the members who are in the Diaspora to think of coming back home and re-settle in the country and enjoy the peace that has been attained in the country. Therefore, I am one of the citizens who have come home with the intention to settle if all goes well.

Clement: Can you please give us your views about Juba?

Gola: Juba is actually a great town with a scenic view all around the city and people are very friendly and welcoming. There is also the opportunity to talk with the locals in Arabic and if you happen to meet with people with whom you share a dialect, it even becomes more interesting! Furthermore, I enjoy seeing people talking to the neighbouring tribes and the enthusiastic attitude all around gives me the feeling that I am at home not just in Juba but Sudan as a whole. There are also many businesses in Juba that make me feel proud; people are crazy about undertaking their small scale businesses around and this has really impressed me. The active construction going on in Juba makes me so proud of this town and I am optimistic that Juba is going to be a very developed city with magnificent modern buildings. I have also noticed that people in Juba are enjoying peace and as I can see from where I live, my neighbours sleep outside peacefully and the peace is only disturbed by the occasional mosquito bites. There is actually and as you can see, people are moving around freely, people are sleeping outside, people are laughing and enjoying all round. Lastly, there is also plenty of food here in Juba.

Clement: Do you have some dislikes about Juba?

Gola: Oh yes, though my dislikes are only natural and one thing I can say is that the people who have been in the bush fighting for very many years are not really ready to welcome people from the Diaspora with open arms; a fact that is quite understandable. I think they have to appreciate the fact that we all fought this war from several fronts; holding a gun to defend and fight to liberate our country and education to acquire knowledge as a tool to re-build our great country. Those in the Diaspora went there for that purpose so that they can fight for knowledge and then come back home to rebuild the country that has been liberated by our brothers and sisters. Those locals who give a cold reception for those from the Diaspora should know that we are all brothers and sisters fighting to liberate our country and should not hold anything bad against us for whichever reason. Some think that we have come back to take up their jobs or scramble for the available resources with them and this is not true. We should all embrace each other for the benefit of our healing country. Another thing concerns the challenges being faced by the Diaspora people when they come to the city. These include such aspects as the environment, the water and sanitation, which the people from the Diaspora find a bit different from what they are used. However, these minimal challenges that will hopefully be overcome as Juba develops, but all in all, everything is alright here in Juba.

Clement: What would you like to be done to improve Juba?

Gola: Well, I have said earlier that people are very busy and eager to do some small-scale business. If the government can demarcate the land and making the citizens of the country own a piece of it, then we can advance in attaining peace in the county. Knowing that we have been fighting for a very long time, allocating land to the citizens will make them feel like they own a piece of Sudan. Moreover, the government should give loans to small-scale businessmen and businesswomen to support them so that besides helping their businesses grow, they can also send their children to school. This would make the locals feel more at ease when going about their businesses without fear of foreigners coming to invade the available business opportunities and remitting all the profits back to their countries. Another area that needs addressing is farming. I feel that more should be done to boost agricultural production and subsequently, the Gross Domestic Product will improve. This will bring about self-sufficiency and reliance on humanitarian aid will be a thing of the past. With regards to infrastructure, I feel that the road network should be seriously looked into. There has been peace for about two years yet the roads are still in a pathetic condition; most are impassable and this has greatly hampered transport between states in South Sudan. As a result, there is inadequate movement of goods and services between the states, hence the slow pace of development. Having good roads will enable South Sudanese to interact and hence spread the peace message amongst themselves. There is also the area of education which needs a lot of attention. It is common knowledge that education is the pillar of any society and it is therefore important that it is given the due attention it deserves. People should be educated on the CPA and the various aspects of law so that both the citizens and the enforcers can co-exist in harmony. Another area that needs to be improved on is the freedom of the press since the media plays a very important role in the society. There should be a free press in the country and people should appreciate and support media agencies like Gurtong since they educate, inform and unite South Sudanese in the Diaspora and those at home. This in turn helps in bringing about peace and development in the long run. Those are some of the few areas that should be addressed in order for Juba and South Sudan in general to succeed in its endeavour to attain development.

That was Angelo Gola talking to Clement Lorchio on his return to re-unite and settle among his kinsmen in South Sudan.

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Skye: My name is Skye Wheeler and I am a journalist working here in Juba.

Clement: Do you have a song to sing?

Skye: No, I don’t have any songs to sing. Well, English people cannot sing quite often.

Clement: Alright, what are you here for; are you a visitor or on business?

Skye: I live in Juba, and I have lived here for about two and half years now in my work as a journalist.

Clement: What are some of your likes and dislikes about Juba?

Skye: Well, let’s start with the dislikes. It is quite hot here besides being dusty. This makes driving a very difficult undertaking. What do I like about Juba? I like lots of things. Juba is a very dynamic place with things constantly changing and the people here are vibrant and full of new and interesting ideas.

Clement: What would you like to be done in Juba to improve it?

Skye: I think that there should be better collection of garbage as a priority. There should also be an improvement of the water supply network and general sanitation so that people can stop getting infections like cholera.

Clement: Do you have something in particular to say about Juba itself?

Skye: I love Juba just the way it is. There are so many people from diverse cultural and historical backgrounds which makes it a metropolis. There are different people from all over the world which makes us identify with Juba and this is a good idea since we are able to integrate our different cultures into a one peaceful world.

Clement: Do you like staying here in Juba or would you want to go back to Kenya or to England?

Skye: I hope to live in Juba for a couple of more years because it is an interesting place., though sometimes I really enjoy visiting other towns in South Sudan; the smaller towns or the rural areas like Eastern Equatoria or in Lakes States are incredibly beautiful and peaceful and provides an alternative to Juba. Juba is not particularly a peaceful place but it would be good if the road network is improved to allow for smooth movement within. It is good that the roads are opening up and more buses are taking people to other parts of South Sudan where they can get some rest from the busy Juba.

Clement: You prefer staying in the serene and tranquil rural areas and not in the city?

Skye: Everybody likes the rural areas and I think at the end of the day, everybody appreciates the peace and the beauty of being out in the countryside. However there is one major challenge of getting employment opportunities, which apparently are available in urban areas. Some people are also involved in administrative work here in Juba and do not own anything back in the rural areas like land or livestock, hence their continued stay in Juba. I think that just like it is true in England, it is also true in America and in many different countries that people are generally friendlier in the rural areas than in cities. In cities, everyone has got his or her job to do and there are struggles everywhere and there is no sense of togetherness as people don’t have lots of time to engage with each other. When you go to the countryside, it is lovely to meet people who seem to have time to meet you and just hang around you; the people here are every friendly and it is just so fascinating that you can go to one part of South Sudan that has a particular culture and visit another part that has a completely different culture. It is so exciting and interesting to talk to people who have completely different experiences and perspectives on life.

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Philemon: My name is Philemon Ahmed, an Ethiopian who is here for business to improve myself and to improve South Sudan.

Clement: What kind of business do you do?

Ahmed: I run an Ethiopian restaurant. I have my own restaurant next to the village called Mading-Bor, in Jonglei State. At other times, I sell Ethiopian clothing which I get from back home.

Clement: What do you like in Juba?

Ahmed: What I like in Juba is that most of the people around here are very good people. They welcome and appreciate us. The locals have also been very supportive of our businesses because they buy from us. However, sometimes problems do arise and they are promptly resolved. I like the good work the government is doing to improve the town like in sanitation, construction of roads and the conducive business environment.

Clement: Apart from being special for the businesses, what do you dislike in Juba?

Ahmed: What I dislike in Juba is that most of the people overindulge in alcohol consumption and this negatively affects their contribution to re-building the town. As you know, Juba needs hard workers who can use their energy in re-building it. Secondly, I don’t like the fact that most people are not willing to provide land for development. If people like me could get some piece of land, we could do wonders!

Clement: What would you like done in Juba to improve it?

Ahmed: To improve Juba, we have to study each other and identify a common ground for partnership. I think this is the fundamental step in realising all development goals of Juba.

Clement: Do you have any song to sing in your dialect?

Ahmed: In Ethiopian? Yes (sings in Ethiopian language)

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Jackline: Am Jackline Poni, a Sudanese job seeker.

Clement: Can you sing a song or greet us in your dialect?

Jackline: No. I cannot sing in my language because I don’t know it. I cannot speak it.

Clement: How then do you claim to be a Sudanese?

Jackline: I am a Sudanese and am a Kakwa.

Clement: And language less?

Jackline: I cannot speak in my dialect because of the way I was brought up. My parents never used to speak the language at home and so I grew up not knowing the language.

Clement: Do you have likes and dislikes about Juba?

Jackline: What I don’t like about Juba is poor hygiene and the weather is very hot. After living in Uganda and Kenya, I find the weather in Juba to be extremely hot besides being dusty. There are also certain habits that are prevalent amongst the residents of Juba; some like spitting everywhere while some are very rude to others.

Clement: And what do you like about Juba?

Jackline: Juba is my home, my sweet home. I like it and I missed it a lot especially when I was in other countries. I missed the food, culture and the people of Juba.

Clement: What would you like to be done in Juba to improve it?

Jackline: A lot of things need to be done to improve Juba in terms of infrastructure. The roads need to be developed; the hospitals are positioned very far away from each other and are not well equipped. The schools in Juba are also not well run since pupils go to school at 9 am compared to places where pupils go to school at 6 am. Moreover, some children roam the streets instead of going to school as they look for money. The Government of South Sudan has to come up with a policy where children of school going age should be restricted from roaming in towns during school days.

Joy: My name is Joy Jackson.

Clement: Where are you from?

Joy: I am from Yei.

Clement: Are you a resident here or a business lady?

Joy: (laughs) I am a resident here staying in Munuki.

Clement: Can you please greet or sing to us using your language?

Joy: Ok. Let me start by singing a song, just one chorus (sings in mother-tongue). Let me also send my greetings to my mother Dudu and my father Jack, whom I call Jackson.

Clement: Do you have some dislikes and likes about Juba?

Joy: Well, Juba is a nice place but there is one thing I don’t like; the rude motorbike riders who ride carelessly and even choke people with dust. Some drivers are also very careless and think that the roads belong to them. Some have also contributed to the bad state of the roads while others litter the roads by throwing all sorts of rubbish on the road. That aside, I like Juba so much because the people we stay with are friendly and helpful. The weather is also good, especially in the hilly area where I stay.

Clement: So what would like to be done to improve Juba?

Joy: What I really want addressed is the dust around Juba. I am however impressed with ongoing efforts and anyone walking around can indeed feel that this is the capital city of South Sudan. Something should also be done to control the careless motorbike riders so that they can reduce their speed and obey traffic rules and regulations. This would reduce the numbers of accidents.

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These views were expressed by the residents and visitors in Juba. The programme was produced by Silvanos Batali Yokoju assisted by Clement Lochio Lomornana and supervised by Jacob J. Akol. South Sudan safari is a radio series of Gurtong Trust, Peace & Media Project. The programme is funded by NORAD through the Norwegian Peoples Aid.

 

 
 

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