Thursday, March 23, 2017

Surveying South Sudan

Alice studies engineering on an MBB Scholarship.  Here she is (wearing a yellow hard hat) practicing the art of surveying. She's surely one of very few South Sudanese women  -- if not the only one --in her field.  

Why has she chosen engineering?  "I want to build up our new country," says Alice. "We need roads and bridges and schools."

S.Sudan has only 50 miles of paved road and hardly any bridges. Look at the picture below. To cross this river in a vehicle, you must wait for the water level to recede, then inch across the uncertain riverbed and drive up the precipitously steep bank. On one of my trips to visit MBB project sites, I myself was in a Land Rover that nearly tipped over backwards when climbing this particular riverbank.  

In summer when the riverbeds dry up you see the tops of huge trailer trucks embedded sideways in the sand, half-buried metal skeletons unearthed by erosion.  Flash floods also claim lives every year, as walls of water roar down from distant mountains, catching people unaware.  

Alice, we can hardly wait for you to put your engineering skills to work!

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