June 28th, 2011
After their announcement of the new VOA Africa Health Network, BBG Governors Meehan, Perino, and McCue return from Nigeria today.

After their announcement of the new VOA Africa Health Network, BBG Governors Meehan, Perino, and McCue return from Nigeria today.

June 20th, 2011

Changes in Juba

Posted by Sonya Laurence Green

June 20: What amazing changes Juba is going through.  During the civil war, I could never get here to report the news because it was a garrison town, controlled by the north, and those leaders didn’t want journalists poking around.  So, I went to SPLA-controlled towns and villages, but always longed to visit Juba.  After the war, when I first came, Juba was a devastated town emerging from decades of strife — but there was life, energy, and a determination to rebuild.  Many of the war displaced ringed the town in makeshift shelters, militiamen weren’t fully demobilized (a friend warned me there were shooting incidents around town sometimes) and the interim government was just getting started. 

Now, Juba is growing by leaps and bounds — there are several private radio stations (Liberty FM and Voice of the People are new VOA partners, broadcasting Sudan In Focus and other VOA shows), new construction is sprouting up around town (including a badly-needed new airport terminal), and entrepreneurs from all over the region are here.  It’s a boom town.  Last time I was here, I stayed in a tent by the river.  This time I’m staying at the new Keren Hotel, which provides air conditioning and internet access, and I found a glossy brochure in my room declaring, “Keren Hotel: Where Quality Meets Its Limit.”  Well, I know what they meant, even if the English idiom wasn’t exactly correct….

June 20th, 2011

Arrival in Juba, South Sudan

Posted by Sonya Laurence Green

June 19: Arrived in Juba, southern Sudan, today with John Tanza, the host of VOA’s Sudan In Focus — that’s the radio show and web page we set up last year, to focus on events in this country.  It’s an exciting time to be here, just a few weeks before the emergence of the world’s newest nation — everyone here is preparing to celebrate the independence of South Sudan on July 9.  There are banners in the streets, and the town has a real “buzz” to it.  Voters in the south overwhelmingly approved independence, after decades of civil war with the north, in a referendum this past January, and it’s now that day is nearly here. Despite real and ongoing tension with the north over disputed border areas, nothing will stop the July 9 independence from coming.

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