Sunday, April 22, 2007

This is not Paris, New York, or Tokyo!

Spending time in Juba makes me feel nauseous. It’s not only the huge piles of trash covering almost every inch of the town and the putrid smell that comes after it rains, it’s also the fact that the capital of South Sudan is also one of the most expensive places in the world. Having to pay 150-200 dollars a night to sleep in a tent is ridiculous! A tent! Imagine! 20 dollars for cold chicken and chips that you have to wait two hours for? Where do these businesses think this is? And the ones who are going to end up suffering are the local community in Juba. None of the money stays in Sudan, all the millions of dollars that the people are having to spend on these crazy prices are leaving the country with nothing if the businesses were to close up shop. For the price that they are charging to sleep in a tent many new buildings could be put up and actually give something tangible to the community after the aid agencies decide that South Sudan is not the hot spot to work in anymore. All of the money spent by NGOs and the UN on housing and food could be spent on programs that actually help people. As aid agencies continue to pay these prices because ‘my organization is paying for it and not me’, the vicious circle of overcharging continues. So please Juba, lower your prices! For the future of development in Sudan.

1 comment:

Aaron in South Sudan said...

It's also worth noting that during the war Juba was a ridiculously expensive place to live, closed roads, ambushes and ambushes drove prices of everything sky high as only those that were willing to risk these things would bring in goods from Uganda and other places via the roads. Planes were too expensive and often shot down.

I do agree that the salaries and leases being paid by the UN and others are driving the cost of living to a ridiculous rate.