Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day One With Athok Alauk

Athok Alauk
Sudanese Tomato Salad (Salata Tomatim Bel Daqua). Photo by morgainegeiserToday I arrived at the JUB airport I took a cab to Langber Bor where Athok Alauk lives.  The streets where very dusty and there were lots of stalls on the side, so we stopped at one of them and got something to eat.    We drove for a few more hours and then got to the village that she lives in.  When I got to the village I could see lots of people in the center of the village, they were all dancing and singing.  I was surprised and realized it was a small greeting ceremony.  After the small ceremony I met Athok.  She is thirty five, married and has five children.  Once we met she showed me her small store.  It was nice and it looked like there were a lot more items in it than some of the pictures she sent me of it.  It was later in the afternoon so we decided to start making tomato salad or salata tomatim bel daqua for dinner.  First we got out the 5 tomatoes and diced and seeded them.  Then we diced 4 green onions.  After dicing the onions we took the seeds out of a green chili pepper.  We used 1/4 cup of italion parsley and diced it.  We also used 1/3 cup oil, 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter, 2 juiced limes and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  We then combined tomatoes, green onions, chili pepper and parsley in large bowl.  We whisked oil and peanut butter together until smooth.  Then we stirred in lime juice and seasoned with salt.  We then used a wooden spoon, and gently stirred dressing into the tomato mixture until it was lightly coated.  After we had finished we shared the meal.  It was good and the combination of lime and peanut butter was a unusual, yet  flavorful taste.  After we ate I got out my sleeping bag that I had brought with me and put it on the little cot that she had for me.  It took a while for me to go to bed becauseI usually see Santa Barbara.  It was amazing!

Day Two With Athok Alauk

Today when I woke up I got out my alien bike tool that I had brought and made a sign saying that I would fix bikes for free.  I got out all of my other bike parts and got ready.  I asked Athok if she wanted to help fix bikes with me and she said yes.  The first person that came was a little 5 or so year old boy.  He had a small bike that had no gears.  He seemed nervous and a one of his friends had stayed back and watched  He handed the bike to me and I asked what was wrong with it.  He said that it was hard to pedal and I knew that he probably had a stiff link.  I got out the tool and started fixing it.  After I had fixed it I lubed the chain then cleaned of some of the grime on the chain rings.  After I gave the bike back the the kid I let him test it out.  I could tell that the problem was solved when he came up to me with a big smile.  I felt really happy and decided to fix bikes the whole day.  Before he left I gave him a tiny thing of tri-flow and taught him how to put it on.  After the boy left,   lots more people started coming and I kept on fixing bikes with Athok.  We kept on fixing bikes until the day was over.  That day was really meaningful to me.

Day Three With Athok Alauk

On day three I woke up and had a regular Sudanese breakfast of bread and goat milk.  After eating I went to the store that Athok owned and met her there.  We had decided that I would work there with her for part of the day.  People started to come in earlier than I expected.  There were lots of people that came in. The big difference that I could see from the little store to an American one is that all the people that came into it were happy.  It was nice to see that everyone was so happy,  even though they were in a harder situation than in America.  During the second half of the day, I played soccer with Athok and her kids.  Later I also had fun learning how to bake one type of traditional bread they eat.  It was made of ran just water, salt and grain and was really hard.  After we played soccer for a while I got out my camera and showed them different things on it.  I also got out my iPod and showed them the games and videos on it and they were amazed by what it could do.  The kids watched the videos for thirty minutes until the battery died.  Then Athok took me to a small restaurant that made food for us, the food was tangy and usually had peanuts mixed in it somewhere.  I got one dish that had chicken and beef in it.  It had a sweet aroma that smelled like pineapple.  After dinner Athok took me back to her house and I said my goodbyes.  I would be leaving the next morning really early so I wouldn't be able to say goodbye then.  I had such a wonderful time and I a had a great time fixing bikes and helping with the store.

Currency Exchange

The currency of South Sudan is South Sudan Pounds
Each dollar is worth 2.6715 Pounds.
Here are some of the conversions from dollars to SDG or Sudan pounds.
$5 = 13.3575 SDG
$10 = 26.715 SDG
$20 = 53.43 SDG
$100 = 267.15 SDG

getting to south sudan

I will be getting to South Sudan by plane.  The flight will leave at 14:55 at LAX and will fly to JUB in South Sudan with two stops in FRA and ADD.  The flight will take 35h and 35m.  I will then drive to the town that Athok Alauk lives in.  I will be leaving 4 days after the flight to take the same flight with two different stops Cairo international in Egypt. and MUC.