The journey to Bor says something of how to work in South Sudan. Our progress from Adelaide to Dubai, to Juba was speedy. The short 90km to Bor was not! Having met Provincial Archbishop Daniel, we were also able through the highly connected and persuasive member of our team Garang Deng, to secure a meeting with the Foreign Ministry. South Sudan has no diplomatic presence in Australia, which inhibits trade and travel between the two. Archbishop Jeffrey will advocate for such a link to be established.
Apart from meetings, the precarious political situation in South Sudan has prevented a simple road trip to Bor. During the civil war of 2013 to 2015, the leader of the opposition party, the Vice President, left the capital Juba and has been residing with his military units near the border with Ethiopia. Under an internationally brokered peace deal, he was due to fly back to Juba and take part in the formation of a unity government in the very week we are here.
The political uncertainty caused a lot of tension in the capital, and this uncertainty together with advice from the local church about the safety of the road to Bor made decision making extremely difficult. The fluidity of the situation, conflicting advice, and constant changes of plan wore on the team. Having arrived on Wednesday, the prospect of departing for Bor on Saturday was disappointing. After a further two changes on Saturday morning (flying, no, driving, no flying) we finally arrived in Bor after a short 30 minute flight.