There was reason to rejoice in Malakal where I was last week: every night we enjoyed the blessing of power supplied by the city. It is almost a year since we have experienced that in Malakal or anywhere in South Sudan, even in Juba. In Juba, there have been a couple of nights when the diesel-driven generators have supplied power but diesel continues to be in very short supply everywhere. Food prices have greatly increased.
We do see an increasing number of very prosperous looking South Sudanese spending a lot of money in shops but the ability of the ordinary person to purchase goods is greatly diminished. I surmise this may be a sign of a widening gap between the families of the big men and the general populace.
In Malakal there is still no gas available. Sr NInet, the Principal of our Solidarity Teacher Training College in Malakal, has done great work in forward-purchasing supplies of charcoal, sorghum, flour, rice, beans, onions and the like but there are few fresh vegetables on sale. Water also has to be purchased as the generator that pumps water from the Nile has been inoperable. The required parts have arrived and the generator is now working again, ‘al hamdu lilah’, but meanwhile trucks have driven near our pipes and cables at the river, forming deep wheel furrows and forcing out pipes out of the ground!
Ensuring there is water and food for our tutors is a small challenge compared with obtaining an adequate supply for students in residence. Wage increases don’t [...]