Sunday, 22 December 2013

From Cairo to Juba.

At Cairo I encountered familiar faces; that of South Sudanese. We can spot each other miles away and notice such similarities that one uncle even mistook one guy for someone he knew.

I had a wonderful time with them talking about Juba etc, even being pushed out of my comfort zone by being spoken to in Thuongmuonyjang. It was great practice. I started responding to some questions in the language and also attempted to formulate other possible responses I may use later on during my trip.

So we queued for boarding and I was so certain this one woman queued right on top of me. I didn't feel at ease; I love my personal space. Even moving slightly forward didn't send this lady a message. I just had a preview of what I will encounter in Juba.

Overhead luggage space is abused and misused. People putting plastic bags there, handbags and single briefcases.

I had a small carry-on suitcase which clearly couldn't go under the seat in front or behind me. A wonderful gentleman, a South Sudanese from America, took the initiative to rearrange the luggage so that my little suitcase could fit in the overhead space. I was highly thankful. He was next to me throughout the journey and we just spoke and discussed.

The flight was (naturally) full with South Sudanese but there were also foreigners on the flight. I'm assuming some were NGOs or business people.

The flight also felt like eternity but I had a great chat with the South Sudanese American who told me about Juba International Airport. Funnily enough, a friend asked me before I boarded the flight to write an article on the airport. The fellow passenger ruined the surprise and told me all about it. I mentally prepared myself for what I would possibly experience next.

Anyhow, when we were beginning to land I was perhaps on cloud nine (literally and figuratively) because the flight finally ended. I was coming home.