Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blogging

Lizard roommate - Nyinbuli, South Sudan

 Apparently blogging is not a part of my natural skill set, but I sincerely wish it was.  I really enjoy reading other people's blogs but I don't take much pleasure in producing my own.  It's just so much work to take these random thoughts and experiences and render them into a word picture that makes sense and is interesting to people who aren't me.  Or maybe I don't blog regularly because I'm too much of a perfectionist.  I agonize over every sentence.  I write entire paragraphs and then delete them.  I've rewritten this first paragraph at least 5 times and it still sucks.

Perhaps the lazy updating is due to the uncertain purpose of this blog.  I only started blogging because I wanted a simple way to keep people informed about my Summer 2013 trip to South Sudan.  When I returned home the blog lost initiative.  But when I was given the opportunity to go to South Sudan again, the blog should have become pertinent again.  Fail.

It only got worse when I was actually in SS and wanted to blog and couldn't because I had neglected to allow access to my Google account from my friend's computer - something that could only be done in the US.  With my sister's help I did manage to make 2 posts from SS and I vowed to do more, but the internet was slow and the trip was short and my time was fully occupied.  I've had plenty of time and opportunity since, but I haven't had the motivation.  The truth of the moment is gone.  I mean, I can give a play-by-play of the events as I remember them and I can tell you how I think I felt in those situations.  But it all seems so filtered and distant and stale.

Ugh, what am I talking about?  These are all just excuses.  Please forgive me for not taking the time to tell these stories.  Please forgive me for trying to justify myself.  Please forgive me for neglecting the duty God has given me.  And please pray for me, that I would just do it - whatever it may be.  Thanks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The White Nile

28 June 2014
Juba, South Sudan
A few short clips.
Read the previous post for more information.

video 
In a boat on the Nile.

  video
 Children singing in the church.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Stuck in Juba - Part 2


Blog #2 - 29 June 2014

Today I am thinking about unexpected blessings. When I first heard that we were going to be stuck here in Juba for 4 more days than expected I was really horrified. When I was here last year I really hated my time in Juba. It was hot, boring, and lonely. There was also uncertainty about food and water and the whole place just smelled terrible. Both coming and going, it was the place that was keeping me from where I really wanted to be - either Nyinbuli or home.

Juba 2014
This time around I can say that Juba has grown on me quite a bit. I've seen a lot more of the city and although it's not a clean or comfortable place, there are some little lovely things that I hadn't noticed before. For example, in the middle of crazy traffic - even though everyone is pushing to get into any open road space - people are still watching out for each other. The driving seems a bit chaotic to my American eyes, but there is a watchfulness to the drivers here. They are aware of the other vehicles - cars, trucks, motorbikes, and donkey carts. And they are aware of the many jaywalking pedestrians. They are even aware of the dogs, goats, and children that may wander into the streets.

Juba 2014

Beyond this hyper-awareness, they are patient. Everyone wants to get where they are going, but I hear no yelling or cursing. Even the horn honking is only done to warn other drivers or pedestrians of passing or turning. It's not done in anger. This amazes me, because I can hardly drive for ten minutes without feeling the need to yell at one or more of the drivers around me. The driving here may be wild and chaotic, but the drivers seem more even tempered and patient. The roads here are in terrible condition and there are no traffic lights or street signs, but there is no road rage. What is wrong with us that we can't have this kind of peace in our peaceful, controlled driving?

Another lovely thing I've discovered about Juba is the Nile region. On Saturday, I went with my little team and some NGO workers from IAS and from ZOA on a little boat trip on the Nile. Downtown Juba is kind of ugly and stinky, but the river is beautiful. Everything was so green and the air was much cooler on the water. I know the water isn't very clean - they are having a cholera epidemic after all - but the air above it is still glorious. As we motored down stream to our destination - an island village - I saw many colorful birds, gloriously tall trees, and smiling faces of swimming children. It took us about 20 minutes to get to the island. I was thinking it would be rather small, but I discovered that it was quite large. I don't know what the total population is but I do know that there are several primary schools on the island and that the one we visited has about 700 children attending. Still, it was a rural place - similar in feeling to Nyinbuli - even though it is very near the big city.

White Nile - Juba 2014

White Nile - Juba 2014
A mountain view from the island - Juba 2014
The people we met there seem to have been forgotten by those on the mainland. It is my understanding that they have been without schools and without access to clean water far longer than should have been allowed. IAS has been working hard to bring in bio-sand water filters - a very expensive and time consuming project - so that the island people can drink the water from the Nile without poisoning themselves. They can't dig wells there because the water table is too shallow (only 6 feet) so the filters are the best solution right now. Another NGO has built the schools and is providing teachers so that the children can be educated and given opportunity and access to the world.

Water filter on island - Juba 2014
Of course, I "report" these things as if I actually know all the facts and completely understand the circumstances. There is a very good chance that I really have no idea what I am talking about (please remember that whenever you read my stuff). Okay, now that I've said that.... Let me tell you my experience in the island village. Our little group had the opportunity to do a little village tour. We were first taken to the church. As we approached we could hear children singing inside. We entered and sat down to watch the boys and girls practice for Sunday service. When they were finished we greeted them all and told them how lovely they were.

The IAS man, Daniel, who had brought us there and worked with these people, told us that at some point (when wasn't clear) the children had decided that they would like to devote their Saturdays to fasting and praying for the church and the village. This is a remarkable commitment from these children and they have seen very tangible results from their dedication. There was a lovely feeling of peace in that place. Even the town crazy guy seemed harmless and friendly.

After we finished at the church; the children took us to see their school. They lingered for some photos but soon went back to their practicing. Let me just reiterate that there were no adults making these elementary age children do this. They were giving up their Saturdays of their own free will, and from what I could tell, were more than happy with their decision. Out of a community of nearly 700 children these 20 or so individuals gave up a day of play and leisure to pray and sing to God on behalf of their community. Amazing!


One of the schools - Juba 2014

A classroom - Juba 2014

Graffiti is different in SS - Juba 2014
As we continued our island tour, we were led through thick brush and tall grass by a local man. Soon we emerged into a small plot of banana trees and okra. These little farm plots are hidden in the bushes. It is like a secret surprise in the jungle. I also saw maize, cassava, sorghum, and cucumber. There were definitely others, but that's all I can remember.

A farm in the jungle - Juba 2014

Eventually we re-boarded our boat and headed back to Juba. The ride upstream was about 30 minutes and it was just as lovely as the one downstream. There were many children playing in the water and they would try to race us as the boat motored by. We also saw people washing their clothes and themselves there in the Nile. The water isn't really clean enough for this, but then again, this is the best they have.

Greeting - Juba 2014
Racing - Juba 2014
All in all, Saturday was a fantastic day and it made me really glad to be here in Juba. We finished up our day with good food and World Cup Soccer. Everyone here is crazy for soccer and the craze is catching. I whooped and hollered along with everyone else whenever we watched a game (every night).

Today is Sunday and later this morning we will travel across town to attend church with our brothers and sisters here in Juba. I think it will be wonderful and I am really looking forward to it. Afterward we are going to have lunch at one of the really nice restaurants here in Juba. I'm looking forward to that as well. Tomorrow we will get to the airport early and board a WFP flight to Aweil and from there we will drive to Nyinbuli. I probably won't have another update until I am safely arrived there. Please pray that we have good internet service there. And please pray that we will be obedient and helpful during our time there. Until next time.... I love you all and I'll see you soon.

Stuck in Juba - Part 1


Blog #1 - 26 June 2014

It's hard to believe that after 3 days of traveling I am only halfway through the journey to Nyinbuli, South Sudan. For now I am waiting in Juba for a flight to Aweil. We had planned to leave tomorrow (Friday, 27 June), but are now being told that there are no flights until Monday, 30 June. This is pretty frustrating, but we will try to make the best of our time here in this dirty, stinky city.

I'm traveling with three other women; Holly, Ginnie, and Jane. Holly is the friend who first invited me to accompany her to South Sudan in March of last year. She works for IAS as a midwife in the Nyinbuli clinic. Ginnie also works for IAS. She is a photographer and a recorder of stories. She is gathering pictures and testimonials to bring back to the US and to share with donors and other interested parties. Jane is a student from San Diego. She found IAS and Holly through a Google-search over a year ago and has been planning and preparing to come here since that time. We are a pretty interesting team.

Jane brought a whole suitcase full of clothing for children and babies and we are hoping that we can go to one of the orphanages here in town and gift them with these items. I'm not sure if this will actually happen, but it would pretty great.

In other news, it's rainy, hot, and humid here in South Sudan - just as predicted. We are squeezed into some rather tight quarters here at the IAS Juba office, but the facility is quite sufficient to our needs. My only major complaint is the lack of good internet. Actually, I think that's everyone's complaint. We all depend on the internet to communicate with our friends and families back home and it can be incredibly frustrating to have that life-line fail. But I think we came here knowing that this kind of thing would be an issue. Instantaneous communication is a luxury, not a guarantee. Coming to this part of the world involves letting go of many of the things we are accustomed to having near at hand.

I know I have mentioned this kind of self-denial in past posts, but I as I experience it again I feel the deprivation as if it were the first time. Oh how I miss air conditioning, internet, and indoor plumbing. I am so spoiled by these things that it feels like a part of my life is missing. How odd. I don't need A/C to survive, but I long for it as if it were a staple.

I also long for sanitation. Everything here is so dirty. The streets are dirty, the floors are dirty, I'm dirty. I'm not a clean freak by any means, but I would really like a bottle of bleach and good mop so I could do something about the toilet and shower stalls. Anyway, I've complained enough.... Thank you for your prayers and please know that even though some aspects of my life here are not so comfortable or pleasant I am grateful to be here in this place.


Garbage in road in Juba - Africa trip 2013

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Almost there

Departure date is June 23rd.  We return July 15th.

I am so not ready for this.


Monday, April 14, 2014

And I'm back

Forgive me my absence from the blogosphere, I have returned. And I am also returning to Nyinbuli.  Perhaps this blog-space will become interesting again. But in the meantime.....



1 Corinthians 13 (The Voice)
13 What if I speak in the most elegant languages of people or in the exotic languages of the heavenly messengers, but I live without love? Well then, anything I say is like the clanging of brass or a crashing cymbal. 2 What if I have the gift of prophecy, am blessed with knowledge and insight to all the mysteries, or what if my faith is strong enough to scoop a mountain from its bedrock, yet I live without love? If so, I am nothing. 3 I could give all that I have to feed the poor, I could surrender my body to be burned as a martyr, but if I do not live in love, I gain nothing by my selfless acts.
4 Love is patient; love is kind. Love isn’t envious, doesn’t boast, brag, or strut about. There’s no arrogance in love; 5 it’s never rude, crude, or indecent—it’s not self-absorbed. Love isn’t easily upset. Love doesn’t tally wrongs 6 or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! 7 Love puts up with anything and everything that comes along; it trusts, hopes, and endures no matter what.
8 Love will never become obsolete. Now as for the prophetic gifts, they will not last; unknown languages will become silent, and the gift of knowledge will no longer be needed. 9 Gifts of knowledge and prophecy are partial at best, at least for now, 10 but when the perfection and fullness of God’s kingdom arrive, all the parts will end.
11 When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned in childlike ways as we all do. But when I became a man, I left my childish ways behind. 12 For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things, as when we stare into polished metal. I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture. But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face. In that day, I will fully know just as I have been wholly known by God. 

13 But now faith, hope, and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives. The greatest of these is love.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Picture Journal - More Juba and also... Aweil

(Special note... I originally began and completed this blog entry on August 26th.  After several hours of work I 'published' and my internet browser immediately crashed and I lost everything.  I cried a little and then started over.  I only got half way before it was time to run off to some engagement.  Anyway, I forgot all about it until today.  So here I am, finishing what I started nearly a month ago.)

I have no deep thoughts to share today.  But I do have pictures.  Here are a few more photos from my journey.

In my first photo-blog, I included pictures of the house where Holly and I lived for our short stay in Juba.  This is the front porch of that home.  You can see the guard-shack on the right side of the picture.  The window seen to the right of the porch is the bedroom where Holly slept.  My room is left of the porch and the last window on the left is another bedroom.  That one belongs to the home owner, Jessica, who was on vacation.

front of house - Juba, SS

There were 3 more bedrooms on the back side of the home.  One of those bedrooms belongs to Al.  He was also away on holiday.

These are Al and Jessica's vehicles.  Also seen... another window to Jessica's room, a storage shed, and the source of running water to the home.  Those big tanks hold the water that is used for showering, toilet flushing, and hand/dish washing.

The water is brought up from the Nile in big trucks and pumped into the tanks.  After being used, the water empties into a septic tank in the back yard.  Eventually another truck comes and pumps out the septic and takes the water back to the Nile.  If there is any sort of filtering or cleaning in between these processes, I would be very surprised.

FYI, there is a well on this property.  It is directly behind where I am standing in this picture.  They hope to have that hooked up to the plumbing someday.  It would certainly be much cleaner.  And they could filter the water and drink it instead of buying bottled water all the time.

side of house - Juba, SS

During my investigation of the property, I was shocked to discover this Shrike (and several others) in a tree in the backyard.  Shrikes are familiar and so this little one made me feel at home.

young shrike - Juba, SS

Here is my room.  The bed was not comfortable.  It was hot and stuffy unless the power was on and the fan was running (as it was most evenings from 7pm until 11pm).  But it had mosquito netting on the bed and it was my personal space in a strange place; so I was extremely thankful for it.

my room - Juba, SS

It was clean and - after I added a sheet to cover the window - it was private.  What more does one need?

Because of the difficulties with electricity (and the added frustration of no gas for the oven) Holly and I had to venture out into the streets of Juba to find our meals.  We ate one lunch at the IAS Office and we had a dinner at a restaurant.  The rest of our meals were purchased at street vendors or corner markets.

Nice part of town - Juba, SS

This was our favorite food stall and we visited it more than once during our 4 days in Juba.  She sells chicken and chips and some sort of potato stew.  The chicken is already cooked (deep fried) and then stored in the glass fronted box.  The chicken is not store-bought.  She probably raises her own and butchers them herself each morning.

Chicken & Chips - Juba, SS

When we arrived at her cart we would tell her what part of the chicken we preferred and she would throw it back into the fryer to reheat.  She would also cook the potatoes at that time.  They were as fresh as the chicken.  After she boxed it all up we paid about $4 total for both meals.  It definitely took longer than ordering fast food, but it cost less and tasted a million times better.  Honestly, it was the best chicken I've ever had.  Apparently it really does taste better fresh.  Also, no genetic tampering or growth hormones.

delicious dinner - Juba, SS

The vegetables were deliciously fresh and perfectly ripe.  I even ate some of the onion and I don't like raw onion.  That's how good it was.  I did not eat the spaghetti.  That is added to make the meal seem "fancy".  Greasy noodles are not yummy, but greasy chicken is scrumptious.

samosa - Juba, SS

I also tried my first samosa. This one was filled with beans and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Holly and I arrived in Juba in the late afternoon on Thursday, 27 June.  And we left Monday morning, 1 July.  Our flight to Aweil was pleasant.  The plane was the smallest I have ever flown on and it was very loud.  But the pilot seemed to know what he was doing and we landed (relatively) smoothly on the dirt runway in Aweil.  That is when I encountered the strangest airport I have ever seen.  Actually, I think it is more appropriate to call it an airfield - it's certainly more descriptive.

I know this sort of thing is normal in much of the world, but it was my first "bush" experience.  Of course, this is downright fancy compared to the runway at the clinic in Nyinbuli.  I'll have to ask Holly to send a picture of it because I forgot to take one. It was not an impressive sight.

Aweil Airfield - Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, SS

The open-fronted tukul is the check-in/baggage retrieval/waiting area.  And the W.F.P. tent is where the security check is done before boarding.  There is another open-fronted tukul to the right of the tent (a second waiting area) and right of that is the office - a small, enclosed tukul with 2 desks inside.  The outhouse (another grass tukul) is about 50 yards behind and beyond the W.F.P. tent.  I had the displeasure of using it twice before our car arrived.  Thank you, Jesus, Holly had toilet paper in her bag!

The structures under the trees to the left are food stalls.  There were more than I would have thought necessary for that tiny airport.  The motorcycle is parked in what might be thought of as a parking lot, but I got the impression you could park wherever you wanted.  The log that can be seen in the picture is actually a bench.  There were two.  Holly and I were sitting on the other one as I took this picture.

Just past the office, on the right, I noticed this home and decided to take a picture.  It amused me that people were living and growing crops right there at the airfield.

tukuls and crops at Aweil Airfield

I believe the crop is sorghum, something I saw everywhere and still can't identify.  It is one of the staple foods for the region.  I ate quite a lot of it, most often in the form of a stiff porridge called Acita.  I'm not sure of the spelling.  It was pronounced uh-see-ta and is similar to ugali, which I also ate.  I preferred the ugali, but I was alone in that opinion.  I did like the mandazi that was made with the sorghum.  Actually, I just really like mandazi and it doesn't matter what you make it with.  Okay, moving on...

So, I took the above pictures and then I turned around and took this one.  This is the airstrip as seen from the parking area in front of the office.  Okay, actually the airstrip is the orange road at the horizon of this picture.  The rest of the cleared (grass-free) area seems to be used for parking.  If you look closely you can also see the road to Aweil heading off to the left.

Aweil Airfield, the runway - Northern Bahr el Ghazal State, SS

Holly and I landed in Aweil at around 10:30am.  Unfortunately, IAS Nyinbuli thought we were coming in the afternoon.  We waited on our bench under the tree for about 3 hours.  We made the best of it.  Holly had Despicable Me in her iPod Touch and we watched that until the battery gave out.  We ate some food we had packed for the trip; hard boiled eggs, crackers, and dried fruit.  And we watched the people; especially the children.

Meanwhile, the manager of the airfield watched out for us and checked on us several times.  He was very concerned that we hadn't been picked up yet.  When the place closed down and everyone left he was nearly beside himself with worry.  But we had contacted the Juba office and they had contacted Nyinbuli so we knew someone was coming.

Tired people - Aweil airfield, SS

Still, we were extremely relieved to see the truck when it came down the road.  Brian - a missionary pastor from Kenya serving in Nyinbuli along with his wife (Deborah, clinical officer) and son (Daniel, two year old) - and Bulis - a native, employed by IAS as driver - were extremely apologetic.  We piled into the Land Cruiser and headed into Aweil proper for some shopping and lunch.  Oh, and to pick up Emmanuel, another Kenyan missionary (clinical officer / nurse) who had been attending a meeting.

The Aweil market was crowded and colorful.  Holly and I wandered a bit in the narrow aisles, but we attracted too much attention and the crowds became overwhelming so we made our way back to the truck.

Overwhelmed person

Weather-wise, Aweil was cooler than Juba had been.  I'm certain this was partly because structures and people weren't quite so pressed in on each other.  There was also a breeze.  Still, this was rainy season so it was humid and muddy and sticky.  Honestly, at this point I was feeling hungry, tired, and uncomfortable.  I really just wanted to move on and find a bed to sleep in.  But the shopping needed to be done if we were to have anything to eat in the coming weeks.  With God's help I remained cheerful and open to the experience.

Person who feels right at home

As far as I could tell, Holly was not having any problem being cheerful.  She was ecstatic to be so close to her new home and she was pleased to be sharing all this stuff with me.  Holly helped me to get through this exhausting day.  She let me be quiet and distant when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed.  She talked about and explained things without my having to ask.  She went out of her way to help me see what was beautiful and precious about the place and the people.

Walking in the market - Aweil, SS

Speaking of beautiful and precious... The woman pictured below called out to me from her little store and motioned me over.  She was all smiles and very chatty, but I couldn't understand a word she was saying.  Brian came over and told me that she had seen my camera and wanted me to take her picture.  It seemed odd to me, but I obliged and then showed this picture to her.  She laughed and smiled and I decided that I was very glad I had taken it.  It turns out that, unlike Americans, the South Sudanese like to have their pictures taken by strangers.

friendly people - Aweil, SS

I'm not sure how long we spent driving up and down the lanes and shopping in the Aweil market, but it felt like an eternity.  Finally we were done (maybe 2pm) and we decided it was time to have some lunch.  I was amused by some of the names of the 'fancy' restaurants.  I think they are trying to appeal to western travelers and foreign aid workers.

"fancy" restaurant - Aweil, SS

We ate a late lunch at the BBC Restaurant (I'm pretty sure there is no affiliation with the BBC).  Anyway, we parked across the street and then walked over to the hand-washing station to the right of the building.  It was a large, raised trough with several spigots and little bars of bright blue soap.  I washed my hands when it was my turn and was also introduced to a new normal.

In SS (like in America), people wash their hands before and after meals, but they also wash their mouths and do a lot of spitting.  Eew.  Spitting is very common, so is nose picking, same-sex hand holding, and into-hand nose blowing (no tissues available).  Not so common... hugging, public farting, crying, kleenex using, shirt wearing, etc.

another "fancy' restaurant - Aweil, SS

In the above photo, you can actually see our table.  We were served a thick lentil soup, flatbread, and bottles of almost cold Pepsi - no utensils.  We said a blessing and then began eating.  I was told that all food handling must be done with the right hand.  Umm, how do you tear flat bread with one hand only?  I couldn't figure that out, so I was a dirty American and used both.  I did try to be sneaky about it.  The meal was a bit more bland than I was expecting, but still pretty tasty.

While Holly, Brian, and I ate lunch; Bulis stayed with the car to ward off thieves.  After our meal; we retrieved Emmanuel from his meeting and then took him and Bulis some place for a bite while we waited in the SUV.  Afterwards we were finally ready to leave Aweil and head to Nyinbuli.  This is when I discovered why we had left the thing running all day.

Oh, did I not mention that whenever we stopped the car was left on?  Guess what?  Bad starter.  Yes, as you may have surmised, the car picked this moment to die.  Yay, I got to help push-start a Land Cruiser on a muddy street whilst wearing a full skirt.  Yes, I tripped on the edge of my skirt and nearly fell in the muck, but we did get the car started.  And that is when the real test began.

I know I have mentioned (many times) the amazingly awful roads in South Sudan.  That is only because they are totally awful.  The worst roads I have ever encountered in my admittedly very limited experience.  For the next 3 and a half hours we bounced along 80 miles of one of those roads.  I actually took video of the road on my way back to Aweil.

video


As you can see on my return trip it had been a rainy morning, but on my way from Aweil to Nyinbuli we were heading directly west into the glorious afternoon sun.  We stopped one time for a side-of-the-road pee break.  My bladder may have appreciated the release, but there was no way I was going to empty it there.  Way too much audience and not enough cover.  But it was a relief to stop bouncing for a few minutes.  Of course, the car died again, but we managed to push-start despite the ubiquitous, canyon-esque potholes. 

We continued our westward journey and I managed to do what should have been impossible.  I actually fell asleep.  Or at least dozed.  At a certain point we got to the newest portion of the road and it leveled off.  What a relief.  By the way, I should have mentioned, when we weren't slowing down for enormous holes in the road, we were stopping for herds of cattle or sheep or goats.  And for those who think it may be fun to just ram the animals... do you enjoy being shot?  Actually, I don't know if anyone would shoot you, but the traditional economy is based on livestock and killing an animal that didn't belong to you would probably be a very serious offense.

Okay, I should stop speculating on things I don't really understand.  Where did I leave off my story?  Oh yeah, the road finally leveled off, I dozed, and then..... We arrived.  We drove and drove and drove and drove and then were suddenly just there.  The road is very nearly a straight line from Aweil to Nyinbuli (and on) so it was somehow shocking to be turning off into the bush.  And then I was shocked again when in about a quarter mile we were passing the clinic I had seen in Holly's pictures.  And then another quarter mile and we were pulling into the gate of the IAS compound in Nyinbuli.

IAS Compound - Nyinbuli, SS

Following Holly's joyous reunions and my shy introductions, we were shown our temporary home - after 3 days in the guest room Holly and I would move into the room she shares with Divinah, but at the moment of our arrival there was another guest occupying that space.

Holly showed me around the compound and then we went back to our room to do a little unpacking and settling in.  During our long drive I had noticed that I had maybe gotten a bit of a sunburn.  Yes, I had been instructed to wear sunscreen whenever I was going to be spending time in direct sunlight, but I had not taken that excellent advice on this particular day.  So I received my first (and only major) sunburn of my month in equatorial Africa.

super-attractive picture of sweaty, sunburned person

That burn sucked, but it healed in record time - I didn't even peel - and I was so distracted by the wonder of being in a foreign land that I mostly didn't notice the burn.  Except at night.  Sleeping was not helped by tender, sweaty skin.  But I'll talk more about sleeping and other Nyinbuli adventures in the next Picture Journal.... which I'm sure I will get around to writing soon.