It has been interesting to observe the difference between the guests who stay here at Hill View and those who "put up" at Pan Dor. Pan Dor, the Catholic Conference Center, caters mostly to Africans - South Sudanese, Ugandans, and Kenyans. Very few Kawajas stay there - mostly missionaries, NGOs - like myself - and priests and nuns. At Hill View the situation is completely reversed - mostly Europeans working for local NGOS - few Africans except for the employees.
I have been surprised at so many guests from Russia - 15 total - who work for WFP - World Food Program - and cycle in and out for up to three months a a time. One left this morning going back to Moscow. They pretty much keep to themselves with a couple of exceptions. There are also support staff from Latvia, Lithuania, and other NGOs from Holland, Malaysia, India, France, Canada and Norway, that I am aware of. My next door neighbor is from Siberia. It would be interesting to engage more in conversation, but most are quite reluctant.
While I was sorry to learn that Justin was sick again - ulcer - it opened the door for a boda boda ride that I had been begging for since I got here. Justin sent Head Teacher Thomas to fetch me and we took a tour of Rumbek, both of us enjoying ourselves immensely - laughing and waving to his friends, who were amused to see this Kawaja on the back of his boda boda - forgot to get that picture, darn it!
This was the real Rumbek - the market, where locals gather and do business - colorful stalls, vegetables and fruits, meat market with entrails of cows clearly in view. Bought some g-nuts in case I get hungry in the room. We even had a visit with Gabriel Kuc, former Deputy Minister of Education in Juba; head teacher at Bishop Ceasar Mozilleri Secondary School in Rumbek, and current Administrator at Catholic University. He is highly respected among the citizens of Rumbek, and heaped praise on the Abukloi school for the contributions we are making to the community.
Moses Guong is the guy in red - a local pharmacist who was determined to get in the picture.
In addition to soup, there were peas cooked with green beans for lunch - I have never seen peas here before - and a banana for dessert.
The morning was clear and sunny, but after lunch clouds gathered and rain fell. I took a short nap, and by 2:45 it was dry enough to move around. At 3:00 Justin and I were back at Rumbek University for a meeting with the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. At this point, I have met so many Vice Chancellors that it is difficult to keep them straight. All are positive about a cooperative venture that would result in a superior science lab for secondary and university students.
Justin and I were presented with a pages long list of materials needed for such an endeavor. Justin is tasked with providing a dollar figure, as well as writing a first draft MOU. One step at a time...
As Justin and I were leaving the University, crowds were gathering for the Bishop Comboni celebration. Rain accumulation everywhere will make it difficult to find one place to come together. I'm going to miss this one.
I had a late afternoon visit from the President of the Rumbek Rotary Club, who was out of town when the club met earlier this week - and four members who were present at the meeting. We talked Rotary for a while, then they started asking questions about my life in the U.S. - and became totally hysterical - falling out of their chairs laughing - when I told them my husband did all the cooking! This absolutely would not happen in South Sudan - women's work totally!
And Ned, these men said to tell you that if we had grown up in South Sudan, you would have had to pay 200 cows for me! Just sayin...
And finally, a picture of my room at Hill View - nice by any standards!