Juba, the provisional capital of S. Sudan, is a hub of activity for the fledgling government of S. Sudan as it prepares for the Jan 9th referendum that may lead to independence as a new state. The city itself, situated on the Nile, is now home to a veritable beehive of nonprofits, UN offices, and government functionaries. It's probably similar to the way San Francisco looked in the Gold Rush days of 1849--more bars than houses; squatter camps burgeoning everywhere; only 1 paved street; no sanitation facilities. But the dream of "making it big" and getting in on the ground floor as the area develops attracts people from throughout the world. This photo, taken by me in April 2010, shows the city-center market with a large kite (bird) overhead.
Juba is the first part of S. Sudan to have mobile phones and banking. Many nonprofits operate there, but few of them venture out into the vast rural areas, where Mercy Beyond Borders has its projects with women and girls.