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Friday 10 June 2011

Long Duration Patrol again

Most of this his was written during the LDP:

First day went well - the convoy started on time, and arrived in Lainya after a little less than two hours. We found the compound where our LDPs usually stays, and it's quite different than the one I stayed at down in Morobo - for starters, the accomandations here are semi-permanent tents. They are big tents too, with two beds and a desk in each. They are placed on a concrete slab, and have a tached roof above to keep the dry. After setting up camp and having lunch (curtesy of BanBat) we headed out on our first sub-patrol. First stop was the County Commisioner, but he was travelig. We deceided to give him a try later; it seems like each time I go to see a county comisioner they are awa fro their offices... Next stop was one of the Bomas* in the area, where we spoke to the Boma Chief. He was very talkative, which is much, much better for us than the ones we have to pull the answers out off. Like everywhere else I've been the ain complaints isn't the actual securit situation, but the humaitarian situation. Roads, health services, water and schools are always on top of the list - the difference today was that this Boma Chief had obviously given things some though and declared that education was the most important thing: no school, no future engineers or doctors. No engineers or doctors, no roads or health service.

Second day went well too - our goal this day was a fair drive away, ost of it on bad roads. My driver had a inor incident when he side slipped and dented the side of the car pretty decently - the guy who have signed for the car will not be very happy at all with the damamge to the otherwise pristne bodywork. Back hoe it would be the work of a few hours for a copetent mechanic to replace the doors - we're not back hoe though. When we reaced our destgnation the big Chief wasn't available, but several of the sub chiefs were s we soke with the instead. It is tepting to write their complaints of as the sae old song, but the truth of the matter is that even if we've heard it all before, the lack of roads, water, education and health facilities isn't just holding people bak down here - it's killing them off... In other news I went to Lainya Town today and spent a princly amount on candles and matches - one pound for two sli candles, one pound for a lot of matches. At least my tent wont be quite as dark as it was last night, and any smoke may keep the tiny fying critters at bay. Speaking of which; I've yet to spot a mosquito in this compound, but there is a lot of flies.

Third day went without a hitch - one of the villages we were supposed to visit turned out to not exists, but be a hill instead. We compensated by talking to the people living next to the hill, and I got the enjoyment of being the first white person most of the children had seen. For living in an area with no boreholes (only an old well about 6km away), no health care (they have a bulding, but no doctor and no edicine), no school (nearest school is about 10 km away and the ost threadbare ecuse for a road I seen in a long while they were a very happy and satisfied comunity. Their ain wish was to see their goverment take a little more intrest in their part of the woods. I think part of the reason they overall seems so satisfied is the beutyful surrnoundings they live in - between a small mountain and a tall hill, with earth so fertile that you can plant nails and expect the to grow... We also made a couple of other stops during the day, in effect finishing up our patrols for the LDP - which means that our ast day will consist of breaking camp and drive to the team site.

And the last day was just that - the morning was spent cruising down the rather bad roads back to the Team Site, with a dead AC and potholes that seemed to jump under our tires as we passed by. I'm pretty damn sore, to be honest... but no rest for the wicked; tonight we're having a party in the Blue, to try to get peoples hard earned cash into the pockets of the welfare committee. Pictures and possible videos from the LDP have to wait for tomorrow, or possible Sunday.

Quite a bit of our spare time on the patrol was spent talking to the BanBat Major who acted as the FPCom; he has a liking for discussing philosphy, which suited e fairly fine. We both agree that a ajor issue in ost of the world today is that people dont think thihgs through before they commit to a course of action...

*) For those less than well versed in the levels of South Sudanese administration, the official list goes as follows: head of familie - village - Boma - Payam - County - State - Nation.

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