Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yay for Yei?

I recently returned from a fabulous R&R (see previous post on Rest and Relaxation), which is why I haven't posted in a while. This vacation I left the continent of Africa, and it was much needed! I recommend it to anyone living and working in Sudan. It's amazing to remember how different your reality can be in Sudan when you go to the outside world. Anyway, I could write forever about my vacation but since this blog is about Sudan I will get back to my reality right now...
Before leaving for my R&R I had in my mind a post about the place where I spend much of my time- in Yei. I was going to write about all of the successes of the place and how it's so far ahead of other places that I have been in Sudan. I recently saw Salva Kiir (the President of South Sudan and the Vice-President of all of Sudan- confusing I know) open the first electric plant in South Sudan so that there will now be power everywhere. This means that hospitals will have power all the time without generators, streets will be lit, etc. etc. In Yei there are also fuel stations, a vibrant Sudanese middle class, a market where prices are not ridiculous and you can buy almost anything, decent roads, Ethiopian coffee, and relatively perfect weather. Yei is also nicknamed small London because of it's cosmopolitan nature. On the border of Uganda, the DRC, and not too far from Kenya you get all types of people living in Yei.
But back to the point of why my post title is now Yay for Yei??? (question mark) Instead of Yay for Yei!! (exclamation mark). Upon arriving back from my R&R I started hearing stories about women in town being caned. I thought it was a mistake as I had always felt like Yei was one of the most progressive and safest places in Sudan, but after hearing the same story from several people and hearing it later discussed in a conference I knew it was true. Women were being stopped for wearing trousers that were too tight (or just generally for wearing trousers and not a skirt!) One kawaja was even stopped and told to go home and put on a skirt. This is due to the so called 'morality laws' which someone suddenly decided was a good idea! Isn't this the same sort of thing that the South was fighting for all of these years? I hope that soon this ridiculousness will stop and I that my next post will be only Yay for Yei!! Until then I'm not going back to Yei until I buy a skirt.... (since I currently don't have any).

No comments: