The alarm is set for 5am. Ahead is the most challenging road of our journey. We leave Juba, tracking east into Kenya. The road will be rough and hot. Water will be scarce. It may rain turning road to river. Eastern South Sudan and northern Kenya are no man’s lands where the nation state is more an idea than something put into practice. Cattle raiding is common. Primary education isn’t.
The pavement resumes in Lodwar, capital of Kenya’s Rift Valley province, about 370 miles from Juba. We hope to be there in six days, but the desert sun and terrible road conditions may force us to shorten days. We may have to bush camp. We will be forced to be self sufficient. Everyday we will start with 20 liters, about 50 pounds, of water and enough food for two days. It’s going to be a challenge.
Luckily, the past couple days have been energizing. We came into Juba encrusted in sweat and starving. We found fellowship with Ryan and Kristen who work in South Sudan with Mission Aviation Fellowship, who help people by flying over the rotted roads. (Much more sensible than bicycling…) Though they have a ten month old son, Caleb, and we were disheveled dirty strangers, they took us in and gave us food and internet and showers. Much can be said how South Sudan lacks comfort and security and yet here in Juba there is a family that can only be described as loving.
We have been surprised how similar so much of Africa seems. A photo of a roadside store in Zimbabwe would be indistinguishable from one of South Sudan. Ahead of us lie the peoples of Lake Turkana. We’re excited to see how the tribal societies compare. We’re also intimidated by reports from last month warning of banditry. I’m curious to see how well I can maintain my health in such adverse conditions. My feet and knee are covered in umpteen dozen red spots. (Bug bites???) By the time we’re back on a road proper, we’ll find ourselves in the Great Rift Valley, the birthplace of mankind.
For more photos of our travels through South Sudan, check out our Google+ Album.
(Though we may be in one of the world’s least developed lands, we do embrace the most developed photo viewing techniques.)