CISR in Sudan 2012: Step 1—Decide on Step 1
Everywhere you look in Juba, something is under construction. Driving in from the airport this afternoon, buildings stood (or not) in such various states of construction that it was impossible to tell what was going up and what was coming down.
This sense of perpetual transition suffuses everything. Even at dinner, when a technical adviser from the German military spoke with Emma, Katie and I about disarmament and security-sector reform, there were serious questions about prioritizing activities. If you knew that weapons stockpiles needed better security and that community-disarmament efforts still bring in huge amounts of uncontrolled weapons, which would you pursue: a few large-scale projects to build armories or many small-scale improvements (fences, locks, inventories) of existing facilities? And what about training of staff? And the development of standard operating procedures? And coordination between government departments and agencies?
Difficult decisions were raised, and everyone we met in our few hours on the ground was focused on one thing: helping the South Sudanese people make the best decisions for themselves under a short timeline. Even the advisers and nongovernmental-organization workers are in a state of perpetual transition. The longest billet I have heard of thus far is 17 weeks, which, when you think about it, is not that long at all to rotate in, conduct assessments and advisements, and rotate out. Most people are working on more limited time.
Our meetings start in earnest tomorrow, which will be a great opportunity given our short time here, too. There was only one snafu in the whole 27-hour adventure to get here: We arrived, but our luggage didn’t. No matter. As you can see from the picture of our walk back to U.S. Embassy-Juba, Emma and Katie are carefree.
P.S.: One of the things we did during check-in was pick call names for Emma (Duke Dog) and Katie (Dolley). I did not get one, but there is still time before we head to the field. Make your suggestions on the Facebook page, and we’ll see what works out.