Friday, March 9, 2012

Update: Paul in South Sudan - 1 Month Down, Only 11 to Go!

Paul has been in South Sudan for over a month now. He's doing well but I can tell the work and the living environment is getting to him. Living on the same compound where you work and having very little options for outside entertainment starts to take its toll. He did escape over Presidents Day weekend and went to Uganda for a couple days of R&R which was well deserved, although I was jealous, as Uganda is the country we met in while in the Peace Corps.

If you've been following international news you'll know that the relationship between South Sudan and Sudan is very weak, particularly since the South shut down the oil pipelines that provide the majority of the income for both countries. Paul has been involved in doing some economic analyses surrounding this issue and has actually traveled to the border region and visited the oil fields. No photos are allowed in these areas, but here he is on the little prop plane heading there!

Leave it to Paul to also figure out how to go rock climbing in South Sudan (a country full of landmines)! Last weekend he and a few other expats living in Juba visited a rock outcropping about 25km outside of Juba and he managed to set up a top rope on a nice slab climb. That made him a very happy boy! And he had a 'it's a small world' moment when he discovered that one of the other expats used to climb at the same gym we climbed at in Jordan!

The days without Paul at home continue to pass, slowly and lonely, but we are hanging in there. This week has been a bit easier since I'm not at home but in Bangladesh. But damn, I'll be happy when this year is over!


Anonymous said...

Do you have any more info about climbing near Juba? I'm to be posted there for a month and want to get a few routes in...!

Dawn Greensides said...

The rock you'll climb is obvious from town. It's the jebel out by Rock City. Finding routes for top rope is pretty easy, though you may need to repel to set anchors (I don't believe there is anything like a guidebook). There's a particularly nice route right between the two big trees (if they're still there). I know folks have climbed trad in the past, but didn't see this first hand and don't know what routes they were doing. I don't believe there are any bolts.

It's been two years since I climbed there, so everyone I know is now gone. I recommend putting out a note on hea google group "Jubalicious."

Do some recon on the security situation... it can change quickly.

Good luck!