The drive to Panyikwara was miserable. This was my first long distance trip in Sudan and I could not believe how bad the roads were. It took us about four to five hours to drive a little more than 100-kilometers, barely an hour's drive in the US. And like all drives here your body feels beaten by the time you reach your destination. Last week we drove to Lainya and back in the same day, three hours each way of spine cracking, bone crushing, kidney bruising travel. When you reach home you feel like you have been beaten by baseball bats.
To reach Panyikwara we drove south on the main road towards Uganda. This is the major means by which people and goods reach Sudan from Kenya and Uganda. Because of its importance to transport USAID invested around $250-million dollars to upgrade the road all the way from Juba to the border with Uganda, about 185-kilometers. For any American reading this, please know that these were tax-dollars extremely well spent! Improving this road was a wonderful investment.
I took a lot of pictures on that trip in 2010, when everything was still so new to me. Even goats lounging in the road seemed at the time fascinating, whereas now I barely give them a second glance. Last week I again traveled to Eastern Equitoria. I went to Magwi which is near Panyikwara to attend the Synod of Torit Diocese. I was there to conduct a financial management training such as I have done all over Sudan. This time we drove down the now improved road and what an wonderful sensation it was!! From the time we left Juba to the time we arrived in Magwi was barely two-hours, and I was not really pushing the drive - we could have made it more quickly. Instead, I was luxuriating in the smoothness and comfort of the drive down a road anyone in a developed country would appreciate. What a great improvement!!
A view of the old Nimule Road, travel was so slow goats could use it as a resting spot without worry.
Old Nimule Road. Rain-water would collect and make travel a muddy mess.
New Nimule Road!! As good a road as anywhere. Speed limit 80-Kph!!
New Nimule Road. Now you can appreciate the views of mountains, etc., because you don't have to be so incredibly focused looking for potholes and ditches to avoid.
New Nimule Road. Money well spent.