Wednesday, March 16, 2005

In Yei, Southern Sudan - New Sudan

The coils begin to unfold
I am finally in Yei, Southern Sudan. Yei for long had been the stronghold of the SPLA forces of John Garang fighting the Arab Government in Northern Sudan. Sudan means the land of black people in Arabic - ask any Arab! Its the Biblical Cush. I think even Egypt not the one demarcated by colonialist - is also in Sudan! So the great pyramids should have been built by the Cushites or the Sudanese for that matter. Some pyramids are found in the Sudan!

After 20 years am begining to trace our family history. I hope to owerahbit it here some day.

In reaching Yei, I passed through former valleys of death - spots of instensive battles between the SPLA and the North Sudan governments forces, the LRA clashes and the Juma Oris battle field. I could still see bits of uniforms of fallen "enemy" forces - white clothes here and there and all over and the sole SPLA tank that got destroyed when Kaya and Yei got captured - That tank is in the bushes but I thinks its worth thousand of dollars. That tank lies with it all the symbolism of heroism. I wish I could keep that tank for its reeks of courage, of a war that was won because the 'rebels' were simply RIGHT! While I was there, the LRA rebels again attacked some villages in the Sudan. The same group caused havoc in Northern Uganda about the same week.
Yei: Every Southern Sudanese must have ever been to Yei!
From New Sudan Kaya - most children there trek to Kaya Uganda side every morning for primary Education, to Bazi - MTN Uganda and Celtel Uganda Networks can be accessed at a apoint of a lone tall timber - to Morobo where a Mango tree less than a stone throw away is a meaningless border check point in Congo -meaningless I suppose because they guards surely drink their waters in the Sudan, eat in Sudan and possibly their commander sleeps in the Sudan!) There is no resisting Yei. All roads seems to yield towards Yei. Its the heart of developing New Sudan. Yei this time is much cooler than I had been caused to anticipate. The nights were chilling. The rains began on our arrival and its likely to remain rainy and intensify in September to December. In the whole of Uganda where I lived, I have never seen a place so green, ok the streets so littered with Mango trees like I have witnessed in Yei. One literally passes through a canopy of Mango tree branches from all corners. These tress provide shelter to population of Yei and ofcourse food. I was told of a Dinka who claimed that he eats about 80 Mangoes a day during the mango season (which will resume in March-April). The lands are so fertile and well the Tig trees which provide quality timber to Europe is plenty less as plantations but more as wild. The roads are being upgraded and hopefully tarmaced. Environmetalists, politicians, historians and the heros of NS should consider protecting the Mango trees along the mainstreets of Yei. Yei is one but the beauty of the Sudan must be protected. I don't know the decision they will take about these canopies but the demarcation on the roads seem to direct the caterpillars and graders to fell them all! Hear this: Some mature Mango trees have never been eaten from - by human beings atleast. I dare say more than 50% of the manages are being wasted annually.
The Cost of being
Mangoes are literally free (when the seasons come) unless you can't pick a fresh one from the trees on the compound you live! Accommodation is 10,000 Uganda Shs per night - about Us$ 4 in a cottage ofcourse. A bottle of Soda 300ml costs 1,000 UgShs. And the beers is annoyingly cheaper at 1300 Ug. Shs. A Kilo of beans and that of Meat is 1,000 Ugx! How can meat rival beans - eh sorry I meant the vice versa. Well the people are just learning to eat beans! Meat is in plenty and milk is a reserve for the Dinkas who keep cattle! Well its their livelihood besides blood! Internet time cost per minute is annoying! In Yei, Its affordable and avoidable and vice versa.
The Kololoing of Maridi
Kololo is Acholi for alone. When Rwot Awich of the Acholi land was captured by the British colonialist In British protectorate Of Uganda for opposing colonialism, he was imprisoned one one of Kampala hills in Buganda Kingdom. The British allowed some of his chiefs to visit him and when he was asked how he was he replied sadly and bitterly thus: at kololo. Literally meaning am lonely! Today the hill has been named Kololo. This hill has become the residence hill of the greats in Kampala. It has for long been the place to live in Kampala. And what about the possibility of Kololoing in the Sudan, in Maridi!
In a short while I will be deeper in the Sudan at the very bossom of beautiful Maridi (So I thought!) I didn't reach Maridi! (Sob! sob!). I must make it to Maridi the next time I travel to NS. I would wish to return here ASAP! The opportunities are there and I wish I could work and live here. The hard bits is that road transport is unreliable. The commonest means of transport is whats nicknamed "Sahara" which in Arabic means the wizard! Other means are available but not at ones' convinience and timetable! Ok there is air transport to all the major counties in NS but abit expensive (by my standards). But nothing can hinder the plot so well concieved by a great son of the land and also my host. I am lucky to be in the comfort of a 4x4 Surf thanks to him who among other answers who is a Musician, Composer, Poet and a Quitarist: - Africano. (Thanks akillion. I wish I could play your song the way you do!). I will be in Maridi one day!
The worry
The destruction of Yei street Mangos burns in me.
There is alot to be done in the NS! Internet time here is 200Ugshs per min In Uganda its 20shs per min! Cya.

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