Bicycling into South Sudan’s Independence

Bicycling into South Sudan’s Independence

by Spencer

It was an epic week. A nation born. The people had a palpable joy – flags fluttering from tree tops, mountains, pickups and people, celebratory honking, singing, fireworks and gunfire. It was a beautiful.

And yet, everywhere was the evidence that South Sudan isn’t truly a nation. It’s landlocked with barely a paved road. Less than 5% graduate from primary school. Tribalism rules, many do not speak a common language. The central government is weak.

There was an air of violence. It’s hard to articulate. You just felt it. I’d look at a guy and he’d look back without expression, stone cold. And then you wonder, where does that go?

In South Sudan, you see how far we’ve come. You see what it means to be a nation. And how very important that struggle is, to do the necessary maintenance, to remain one, indivisible.

Here’s photos of South Sudan’s Independence, of Nimule and the first national soccer game in Juba. An incredible experience, from being threatened by bandits, to the nonexistent infrastructure contrasted to the mass joy of the people.

edited 1/1/2015

3 responses to “Bicycling into South Sudan’s Independence”

  1. What a trip – well done you guys! – there is a good chance I will be doing some work in South Sudan later in the year as a water resources management consultant – your diary and pictures have really whetted my appetite to get the work! Thanks and get a puncture! ( cyclists version of actors “break a leg”) – those dirt roads looked so well-graded and very comfortable to ride on by the looks of them. Hope I get try them later in the year – make a change form riding the crowded roads of  Java. ( I live in Jakarta)

    • USAID is paying for a brand new beautiful paved road from Juba to Nimule. By the time you’re there it ought to be done. The road east is mostly very well graded. Between Torit and Kapoeta it’s poorly maintained because the banditry is so intense; most people have assault rifles. Best of luck in South Sudan, it was a very dynamic exciting place!

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