Lugala At Large: Up And About In Juba

"...part of Jebel Kujur has been 'grabbed' by a fake prophet. What happened to the legendary big snake which was said to be the guardian spirit of the solid rock? One day it will unleash its venom on trespassers!"

By Victor Lugala
I don't do the treadmill like Brian Adeba. Me, I'm an ethnic African man. Son of the soil. Depending on the mood, I hit the road in the morning or evening, grinding the rugged Juba tarmac. Walking gives me the opportunity to scan the angry faces of some people, listen to the care-free African laughter, to critique the nyongoro architecture, and to savour the familiar smells filtering from kitchens with a reasonable budget. These days I meet traffic police dotted everywhere, extorting chicken droppings from motorists.
After nearly 6 years, today I decided to go west of Juba, on a patch overlooking the Kujur mountain. Ruta Denyangos can get lost here because part of Jebel Kujur has been 'grabbed' by a fake prophet. What happened to the legendary big snake which was said to be the guardian spirit of the solid rock? One day it will unleash its venom on trespassers!
After walking for a few kilometers feel hungry. The sun is bright today. Last night the wind blew away the expected rain.
Why don't I pass by Soukh Libya in Munuki? I ask myself. This market might have been named after the Soukh Libya of Omdurman, Sudan's twin capital. The Soukh Libya of Omdurman manicipality used to have a used car bazaar, and most of the merchandise was from Libya, or so it was alleged. That was before Gadhaffi was mob-lynched in the street.
The Soukh Libya of Juba is limited in space. Most of retail shops which sell clothes, utensils, electronics and fans are owned by exiles from Darfur. I wonder if they will ever return to the Sudan even when Al Bashir is now a tenant at Kobar maximum prison.
I'm not interested in Darfuru clothes. I'm going to the kienyeji side, where Africa comes out alive with ear splitting music. 9:30 am local time. Music is blaring from the kiosks. Some guys with tomato-red eyes are playing pool. They are chewing things, talking and kissing beer larger bottles.
"Do they make porridge here?" I ask a lady with beads of sweat on her nose as if she ate an uncle's chicken. She pointed at a kiosk, and I followed, but not without being distructed with a line of charcoal stoves. Dry fish is steaming in one pot, chunks of ebony-coloured dry meat (don't ask which one) swim in cream peanut paste - this one slides smoothly down the throat with slippery cassava asida, and in a greean plastic basin is a king size mound of millet asida mixed with cassava. Ready. At this point, Mary Kadi Manoah, I'm tempted, but it's still early. I really want warm porridge.
I locate the place where they make the millet porridge. I comfortably settle on a plastic chair. A plastic stool is planted near my right knee. My porridge in a plastic mug lands on the plastic stool. Having learned my lesson from folklore of a glutton who gulped hot porridge and burned his mouth, I went slow like a master. When I was a boy my mother used to make porridge like this. I didn't like millet porridge when I was young. So my mother would stir the maize meal porridge, adding sugar, fresh cow milk, and sometimes add the fresh juice of the sour tropical fruit we call aradeib, or ukwajo in Kiswshili. My mother would take her time stirring the porridge on the stove, sometimes annoyingly, as if she was preparing glue!
After the porridge of Soukh Libya in Munuki settled in my belly, I'm sweating profusely. I feel like a Nuba wrestler, my arms are shining with neutral sweat.
Now I'm relaxing on my back on my ground-level bed in my cube, and writing this postcard in a hurry. After going to pee a couple of times, the porridge has diffused in my system. For Lunch, today I'm raiding Maurice Muki's Kakwa Organic Foods (KOF).


Posted in: Opinions, Lifestyle
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