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….