The capital of South Sudan is Juba, and there are approximately 13 million people living here. The official language of South Sudan is English, with Arabic spoken by a majority of the population as well. The majority of South Sudanese practice Animism. The time zone is 7 hours ahead of EST.
My pre-trip reading in 2019 indicated that South Sudan was one of the poorest and most dangerous countries on Earth. Of course, it’s a State Department Level Four destination which means you’re advised to make final preparations beforehand such as your will etc. Being a little apprehensive I arranged extra security. Upon my arrival I got hassled at the airport, which is par for the course. After settling visa issues, I made my way to the capital city of Juba. Compared to Khartoum where most people in Sudan live, in Juba only about 15% of the population lives in the city.
Juba, and South Sudan, are in recovery after being at war from both with Sudan for its independence, and with itself in a brutal Civil War. In 2016, South Sudan was one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises with 6 million people living in danger of survival. Get this: 80% of the population lives on less than one dollar per day and most of whom are living in the countryside as subsistence farmers or tending their herds of livestock. The confluence of the brutal Civil War between warring factions and drought conditions put many in danger of starvation.
In Juba, things are beginning to return to the same modicum of normalcy, after the two main tribes agreed in late 2018 to stop the fighting. Life is still tough here, with most homes without running water or electricity.
This is one of those odd countries where picture taking is not permitted. Why? Because security is such an issue here, and maintaining tight security around the city is at a premium.
The government has placed billboards around the city asking people to forgive one another, it reads “Now is the time to forgive” along with the website powertoforgive.com
After touring around the city, we watched some of the young players on the national team play basketball. The South Sudanese are very tall people. I’m talking many are 6‘5“ or taller – I was looking for the next Bol Bol to play for UNC … but didn’t see anyone with basketball skills.