How do we get around in Juba? Many different ways! We live right on the corner of a busy intersection, very convenient for getting public transport going in various directions. We do not own/drive a car, which means we do not have to worry about parking, or the car being broken into, or getting stopped by police, or repairs, or the endless fuel shortage, or even the perpetual washing of the car because of the dust. This means that we get to move around Juba like most of the population – by bus, rickshaw, boda-boda, or foot.
Whenever possible, we go by bus or rickshaw. There are several ‘routes’ in the city, so we can usually get close to where we are going using one of these means. To get to work, both Bob and I have about a 10 minute bus or rickshaw ride (in opposite directions), and then a 10 minute walk. God made that very convenient for us!
The intersection we live on – a little chaotic at first glance
with no stoplights, but somehow it works.
A ‘rickshaw’ is something like a three-wheeler with a body and more seating. It carries 3 passengers in the back, and a fourth sqeezed next to the driver. It is convenient also because you can ‘hire’ one to go to a specific location just for you, and it is cheaper than a car-taxi. We take rickshaws often, because with less passengers they do not stop as often as the buses. Today when we neared the road to the church office where I get off, the rickshaw driver looked back at me and grinned, as if to say “I know you’re getting off here!”.
The bus stop just in front of our apartment
Boda-boda’s, or motorcycle taxis are another option. We avoid taking these, because there are too many accidents that happen on them. They park on most corners and are ubiquitous around town. So if there is no other alternative or we are going a short distance, sometimes we give in to the convenience of taking a boda.
Motorcycles sometimes carry SEVERAL people here…
there’s always room for one more, as they say!
Finally, we go by foot! We live on busy roads and can easily walk to the store or to the big outdoor market down the street. We walk our neighborhood in the evening, and enjoy getting to know our neighbors. Walking helps us to get to know our neighbors and the ‘pulse’ in the community a little better. And, of course, it is good for our health – as long as it is not too hot out!
And finally, sometimes we go by taxi. If we go out for dinner and are coming home after dark, or are traveling with our laptops or other valuables, or on a big shopping trip and have an armful of stuff, then we take a taxi. We connected with a nice young man from Rwanda named Michael whom we call whenever we need a taxi. And fortunately, in Juba, we can go almost anywhere for less than $10 in a taxi, so we do splurge when safety dictates it.
Taking pictures in public is frowned upon, so we apologize that we do not have pictures of us getting around town. These pictures are taken from our apartment window, looking down at the street. Not the prettiest view, but we get front-row seats when something goes by, like a parade, UN convoy, the presidential motorcade, or the annual marathon.