You know you’ve been in Juba for three months when…

1. You hike 30 minutes each way in blistering heat to have an NGO friend wash your grubby handwashed-in-Nile-water sheets in a (her) washing machine for the first time in three months.
2. You feel strange when your blouses aren’t damp with sweat by 9am.
3. Your ego now depends on being yelled at at least 15 times a day by children/boda drivers for a brief conversation.
4. You allow a friend to cut your hair because you’ve witnessed other Juba hair cuts and decide that this is the least worst option. Plus you actually like the finished product because in this heat it’s curly within seconds.
5. A friend brings you a brownie from a top hotel and for the first time ever you have to pause after two bites because you aren’t used to the sugar rush.
6. You use local transport like a pro shoving your way onto buses and beating boda drivers’ prices down much lower than they want to go for a ‘kawagha’.
7. Mosquitoes now bite you through your clothes and each evening you barely blink as you reach for 100% deet and prowl your room on a killing spree, mixing strange pleasure and guilt when you kill one.
8. At work, a day that begins with no real plan can end with you writing job descriptions, visiting health facilities, sitting with mothers in the Sick Children’s hospital and feeding biscuits to your boss as he drives you along surely the bumpiest roads known to humankind.
9. You realise that it is likely that teaching someone to take minutes of meetings will probably take 3-6 months and in all likelihood a year*.
10. You are surprised if, during the working week, you reach Wednesday without someone subtly or not-so-subtly suggesting you become their second wife, and are adept at replying with humour ‘only if my bride price is 500 cows, 3 rabbits and a giraffe.’
11. You laugh fifty times a day and are consistently amazed at the amount of humour that is interspersed with the tremendous suffering.

*I’ll get back to you on this in 9 months time.

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