10 February 2013

Work in ... South Sudan

Five top tips for working in the world's youngest country

With female police officers waiting for training to begin
1. Take emergency snacks  The number of restaurants is increasing in Juba, the capital, but lunchtime options are limited. Having cereal bars, biscuits and other non-melting snack items in your bag is great for quelling hunger pangs when you just can’t face another club sandwich and chips, dry samosa, or greasy Chinese.

2. Dress smartly for meetings  While you can get away with dresses, smart-ish trousers and shirts at NGO-gatherings or meetings with other expats, meetings with counterparts are more formal. You don't need to cover your hair in South Sudan, but it is advisable to cover your shoulders and knees for formal meetings. Your counterparts are likely to be in suits and will expect you to be suitably attired. Make sure you wear a smart jacket at least – and grin and bear the heat when the air-con fails.
3. Your dirty laundry will be aired in public  If you surrender your clothes to the hotel or guesthouse laundry, your clothes will most likely be dried outside on lines. This is an important point to remember as you pack your dainty, lacy knickers (although you don't need to go as far as paper pants). 

John Garang Memorial Ground, Juba
4. Getting exercise... Certain hotels have some sort of gym facilities (running machine, rowing machine), but the options are limited. For those who get bored of these options, or want to avoid the testosterone, ask around other women for hotels where groups get together to run their own yoga or aerobics classes – perfect for stretching out joints after too long spent on pitted roads. Another option is to take out your own yoga DVD and practice in the comfort and privacy of your room. Central Pub runs salsa classes once a week for a more fun way to get moving.
5. Hygiene – bring your own supplies  Well obviously there isn’t a Boots on every street corner so stock up on feminine hygiene products before you arrive, especially tampons – you'll find them much more easily and cheaper at home.

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