How much would you pay for a pineapple?

My radio silence has been due to polio campaigns continuing (25,000 children vaccinated in the payam I was working in) another workshop (that’s right, and the energisers were even MORE energetic this time) spending time with a lovely group from home, helping to train the new batch of VSO volunteers, attending a film festival and attending to my commitment to return home at Christmas slightly less pasty than I arrived. It’s also been because my colleagues are spending a lot of time shaking the mango tree, climbing the mango tree and using tall poles to coax ripe mangoes onto the ground for us to nibble on. It’s been more fun than computer work, if rather dangerous.

One particularly perturbing thing (even more than the weekly Security Briefing Emails) has been the recent hike in fruit prices. South Sudan is in Africa. Thus you’d imagine fruit prices to be bargain barrel low- bananas for 5p, apples for 7p etc etc. however since virtually everything is imported here (except for the gift of mangoes) floods at the Uganda border meant that our crazy expensive fruit got even more expensive.

An apple usually costs about 50p. They rose to £1. Bananas are usually 4 for a £1… They were 3 for a £1 or else absent from the streets. The absolute worst thing was that pineapples rose from £2 (10 SSP) to £4 or 18 SSP. With work colleagues who earn 200 SSP a month, this would make a pineapple nearly a 10th of their monthly salary. Is it any wonder people are malnourished or eat so many leaves which women carry in to sell at Juba Town or Konyo Konyo markets in large baskets which they balance on their heads?

I have absolutely nothing to complain about – nothing – but I did hold back from buying what little fruit I could find for those couple of weeks and now a pineapple is back to £2 my housemates and I enjoy our evening fruit salad, a luxury many others can’t afford. And thus I understand why when I came into work this morning the watchman was already on the roof shaking the branches of the mango tree. As I squealed and dodged a few falling mangoes I realised what a treasure they are.

3 thoughts on “How much would you pay for a pineapple?

  1. Hi Sarah, wow sounds like it’s as expensive as London there! Only joking.
    I went to a market in Peckham yesterday and met the author of Rastamouse! No kidding! It’s a kids book series about an inner city living Rastafarian skateboarding mouse. I’m looking forward to seeing you and bronzed, stretched limbs! Love from, Jo xo

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