As I was driving home yesterday evening, Juba became new to me again.
I looked around and realized why I've been struggling to describe it. There is a lot going on here, and I'm concerned with painting an accurate picture. And because I've also struggled with taking and posting photographs, I haven't shared it that way much either. But on the drive home, I decided it was time.
When I don't have my head in the sky - because as cliche as it is to behold an African sky, I've seen some of the most beautiful skies since being in Juba - I see such a slew of interesting things.
I see colors.
I see neighborhoods with modern homes or offices situated next to villages with mud huts. I see functioning solar panels and non-functioning electrical wires. I see women in skirt suits, slacks, skinny jeans and various African fabric skirts and head wraps. I see babies on mothers' backs and people carrying things on their heads, sometimes. Sometimes I see people carrying things in their hands or in a bag that's slung over their shoulder.
I see accidents and arguments.
I see dancing and celebrating.
I see people selling things and cooking things and washing things and sitting on things. Imagine that. I see fourteen hands tearing and dipping bread into one large silver bowl while sitting outside in the moonlight. I see goats, sheep, cows, chickens, dogs, cats, lizards and birds sporadically placed throughout the city.
I see people walking and riding bicycles and driving vehicles. I see traffic working itself out organically, most of the time, sometimes traffic police help. I have only seen one stop sign in Juba. I see people crossing the street with an impressive trust. I see toddlers riding in the forward position on boda bodas. I see people riding in the beds of trucks, sometimes sitting and sometimes standing. I see soldiers riding in the beds of trucks, sometimes sitting around a machine gun.
I see red berets.
I see signs that read "Thank you people of South Sudan for choosing freedom". I see corner markets and supermarkets. I see a football (/soccer) stadium and a university.
I see Juba's portion of the River Nile - the White Nile - and various boats passing by. I see two lone mountains off in the distance, one of which I've seen much closer while visiting a friend in a place called Rock City. The mountains are made of rock. I see trees and flowers and grass, although naturally, I see much more green during the rainy seasons. I see a lot of earth. Earth roads are still the majority. I see asphalt roads, too, and some sidewalks.
I see anger and I see joy. I see despair and I see hope. I see death and I see life.
I see the fruit of hard-working, faithful people. I see people shaking hands every day, and sometimes, when it's been a long time, I see people put their right hand on each others' left shoulder before they shake hands.
I see faces from a vast array of backgrounds. I see some faces that have been permanently scarred so there is no confusion about where they come from and who they are. I see endless possibilities in the striking eyes of children.
I see people loving God.
I see people loving each other.
I see people creating an undeniably good current with their lives and their dreams and their love.