One of the first things you’ll hear about when you get to Juba is “the Juba-minute.” That’s because time here often seems to move differently. For one, it’s slower. A “Juba minute” can easily be 20 regular minutes – it’s a fact one has to quickly get used to when setting up interviews and meetings.
I’m half-Egyptian half-German, which means I’m constantly torn between the urge of being on time, i.e. a little early, or I try and force myself to be a little late (,which never really works). Waiting around is a big part of reporting in Juba and admittedly, my inner German, wasn’t too happy about it in the beginning. “You have to deal with this as an Egyptian,” our fixers and my subjects would say. And so I sat and waited, sometimes for more than an hour, only to run into my appointment as I’m about to leave.
Reporting in Juba is a mix between “wait… wait…. wait” and “GoGoGoGo!!”, the latter applies especially when curfew is about to strike. The expat life, and with it the life of foreign reporters stops between 6pm and 8pm. Bars, restaurants and other expat venues are suddenly abandoned and give way to the people of Juba, for whom life goes on, even after 6pm or 8pm. But for us fellows, it’s story planning, dinner and an early bedtime. The expat bubble is real in Juba, and in it time moves differently. It’s a funny thing, time in Juba.
Jasmin Bauomy, South Sudan Reporting Fellow