Saturday, February 11, 2012

Update from Paul

Paul left 12 days ago and has been in Juba, South Sudan for over a week now.

He's pretty much all settled in already. Not to hard to do since he is living in a remodeled shipping container on the US Embassy compound. He's sent me a couple of pictures of his container but I am not allowed to post I'll just describe it for you. It's 40 feet long with the door and 2 windows on the long side. The door opens into the kitchenette, complete with 2 electric burners and a built in hood, a microwave, small fridge and sink. It looks quite nice actually, has a decent counter top and cupboards. To the left of the kitchen is the living area with a desk and desktop computer, a couch and a decent sized flat screen TV (with satellite cable) on a little TV stand. On the other side of the kitchen is the bathroom with toilet and little shower, then the bedroom with twin bed, complete with mosquito net, and a small bureau and wardrobe to hang clothes. Overall he says it's pretty comfortable, although I think it needs some color or special touches to make it feel more homey, but I guess that's just the girl in me! Oh yeah, it also has two air conditioners to keep him cool since it is VERY hot and dry in South Sudan right now.

He is getting settled into his work as well. He's the Economist for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) mission for South Sudan. I can't be very detailed about his work, not because it's top secret but because I don't exactly know what his job entails! But I do know that the work keeps him quite busy.

In his free time there is not too much to do, partly because of the heat, partly because of the travel restrictions, and partly because there just isn't that much to do! There are a number of options for exercise on the compound: a 0.42 mile running track inside the wall, a swimming pool, and a nice gym. And there are a few restaurants in Juba town which he has tried out with some of his colleagues...He hasn't raved about the food though.  

We've been able to talk on the phone for bit every other day or so, it's hard to time it during the weekdays due to the time difference (he's 8 hours ahead), but we were able to skype once a few nights ago. Paul was still suffering from some jet lag and was awake at 4am his time which was 8pm my time! I took a screen shot to document my first skype call with South Sudan!

We email a lot though, particularly during the day while we are both awake and on our computers at work.

So all in all, it sucks not having him here, but technology these days is amazing and I don't really feel like he is that far away. I am looking forward though to planning his R&R so I can start the count down to when I get to see him again!

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