On the surface everything seems normal. Traffic is as crazy as it used to be, people are out walking, shops are open and women are selling mangoes on the roadside as before. There are a few noticeable changes; more holes and bumps in some of the roads, other roads have been repaired, a high wall around the graveyard to chase the settlers away and our old Frisbee field at UNMISS is now an IDP camp. There are also some surprises, like a newly opened French bakery and a new hotel with a very nice roof top restaurant.
Our survey has kept on going without big interruptions since the conflict broke out. Life goes on, people go to their jobs and try to cope with the situation the best they can. If I didn’t know better I wouldn’t be able to tell that there was a war going on.
After getting a security briefing last night I got a sense of what is below the surface. Fighting, soldiers deserting the army or defecting to the opposition, rebels regrouping, mines, no progress in peace talks, starvation, cholera outbreaks and no way of knowing whether things will improve or get worse.
Normality is one side of war. Uncertainty is another.