I ran towards the Nile this morning and found many squatters in the midst of construction of multi-storey buildings and some hotels. The squatters were brushing their teeth, hunching in groups to have their morning tea. Their homes were patches of reeds, tarp, plastic coverings and cloth materials all mashed together higgledy piggledy. It will not be long when they will have to evacuate to some other places when this prime piece of real estate will be gobbled up for more constructions.
Before we left Juba Anthony showed up at the request of Tashian to show us the town. He drove to Jebel where there is a market selling many imports from Uganda. On the way we passed a military base which used to be the SPLM headquarter where Anthony said many Sudaneses were killed. Like many people in the southern part of Sudan during the war, Anthony and his family fled to Uganda. Jebel has a cluster of hills which looks quite out of place in this very flat area. There are many boulders on these hills and workers scour and attack them and break them into tinier pieces all manually and these are sold off as construction materials. Anthony told us that accidents do happen, boulders have been known to roll down the hills killing workers and inhabitants. Constructions of multi-storey buildings are cropping up all over.
We passed by Custom again and had a closer look from the cruiser at the burial place of John Garang, heavily guarded by soldiers. Tashian once commented that he never understood why the dead needed to be guarded. Juba University ground closer to Custom seems to be better kept. The series of neatly-kept ministry buildings near this area are a great contrast to the clumps of ramshackle homes in a small shanty town not too far away.
South Sudan became a new country in July 9, 2011. The war that lasted over twenty years had made consistent education opportunity virtually impossible except for the lucky few who escaped to other countries. It faces a lot of challenges not the least of which is raising the next generation of educated citizens who will be its future.