Working in Sudan

So it’s Saturday and people in the Western World have Saturday off, we normally do too in Southern Sudan, but I have a ton of stuff to get done while I’m in Abyei.  So here was my day, up at 8:30 a.m. it’s fairly cool and I usually wake up by that time anyway.  Trek to the restroom, back to my room, gather my stuff move to the racuba.  Eat breakfast coffee and zilabia a fried bread, wait for the generator to come on. 

Check e-mail, find files that I need copies of get set up in the tin shack where the copier is.  Start copying means of verificaiton data.  One page at at time there is no feeder on this copier.  Give local staff money to buy a Mountain (MTN) sim card for my phone because Zain doesn’t work here.  Continue copying.  Double-sided, the copier doesn’t automatically double-side, so you put on page in copy it, take the copy, pull the paper drawer open, put the copy in and copy the other side (try very hard not to get confused).  The day gets hotter and hotter. 

1:00 p.m. the generator goes off and the copier doesn’t work on battery power.  Quit copying, I’m a little at halfway.  Go to office, notice stack of papers eight inches high, go through stack of papers, find missing documentation from project, collect it, talk to national staff whose working on the project to see which belong to my project and which belong to the other livelihoods project.  Wish you could fire someone, but the people who made the mess already left the program.

Put sim card into phone, it doesn’t work.  Send staff back to the market to talk to the phone guys about the sim card.  Eat lunch.  Generator comes on at 2:00 p.m. go back to copying.  Put one page in, take the copy, flip it over into the paper tray, remove copied page, put in next page.  Staff comes back, phone still doesn’t work, call IT guy in Khartoum, he tries to help but can’t,  send staff back to the market, continue copying.  Staff comes back for the third time, it still doesn’t work, pocket the sim card and the other cards, try and get it taken care of when I get to Juba or Khartoum, whenever that will be.  Meanwhile no phone, I hope nothing happens. 

Continue copying.  Generator goes off at 5:00 p.m. right as I’m about ready to finish copying one section I only have two more pages to go, but I’m out of luck.  Go back to office.  Try to install printer.  Printer won’t install. Futz around with it for awhile, call the IT guy, just as I’m about to download teamviewer so he can get on my computer to see what the printer issue is the internet goes out because the battery power has gone off at around 6:15 p.m.  He tells me to plug the printer into the USB port I do, but then I realize the power is out so the printer isn’t on.  SIGH . . .

Go get cold water, think about showering, tell myself when the power comes back on I’ll finish the last section, I’m now more than 3/4  through the file. 

Generator comes on at  7:00 p.m. finish copying the last section. Put all the copies into plastic sheets, turn off the copier in the tin shack, move all the files to the office.  Wonder why the copier isn’t in the office.  Take computer over to printer plug into the USB port try and install the printer for about 30 minutes.  It won’t work.  Sit down, download teamviewer and tell myself I’ll call the IT guy in Khartoum tomorrow and get the printer take care of. 

Blog.  And now after the day I’ve had, I’m going to eat dinner, then possibly go over to the neighboring NGO to socialize for a bit, brave the bug/frog infested shower and start all over again tomorrow.

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