In Michigan the faint glow of grassfires on the horizon are not common in my experience. We have been observing them here for several nights running. We are told that this activity is for security. The thinking is that it would be harder for the bad guys to hide in the burnt grass than the original tall field grass. There is a lot of discussion about security issues here because over the last year a number of Dinka have turned up dead and their cattle gone. Last night things got more interesting because the fires raged up to the Hospital complex itself. This caused some excitement from the locals and panic from some Americans. The fire raged on three sides of our complex filling the air with smoke. Thankfully the fire did not enter inside of the fence due to the garden plots and generally greener grass we have inside. After an hour or so it became clear that we were not going to be engulfed in flames and nerves began to mend. Later we sat around in the evening and thought about events.
The Sudanese have a different sense of responsibility than Americans do when it comes to fires. Property damage that comes from fires is the responsibility of the property owner and not the person who set the fire. This means that property owners take care to situate their property to be immune from such fires and that they are always prepared to defend important property if necessary. Makes some sense when you think about it.
One of the features of Werkok is the brilliance of the night sky. Tonight was no exception and we were in position to watch the International Space Station pass overhead. Yes there is an app for that and it works here as well as it does in the SA. It's what passes for entertainment in the absence of much else to do at night.
Another thought that came to mind this week was about chickens. There are several dozen here in the compound doing what chickens do. I spent some time on a farm as a boy but I had forgotten how active the life of a chicken is and how important the pecking order is. They days here start off to a chorus of crowing around 5AM so little sleeping in can be done. There is always a dispute to be resolved, cruel act to be avenged or a some sort of domination to demonstrate. A particular fuss occurred when one of the neighborhood hawks took a dive on the flock. The intended target dove under the coop and avoided death but nerves were frayed and the roosters seemed particularly incensed. Reminds me of another species I am familiar with which is prone to making much ado about nothing.
Work on the airfield is complete. We have 830 meters of cleared runway which is 22 meters wide. All that remains is for the MAF pilot to agree. The final verdict will be on Friday morning 8:30AM. Hopefully all our hard work will pay off.
One disturbing development yesterday was the failure of the welder generator we just bought and brought with us from Nairobi. It's always a frustration when something new fails but even more so when the hopes for an effective warranted repair are dim. We will ponder on it over the next day, perhaps something simple will be found.
Solar system work continues. The interior work is complete and the remaining work will be outside in the hot sun. Hopefully all will be complete tomorrow and we can test the system. That is going to be tricky since the batteries I was planning to use for this system failed last month in the Hospital. New batteries are in the container but that is not expected here for some time. We are looking to get something flown in on Friday but prospects do not seem so good. Looks like serious improvement in the power situation here will have to wait until after the container comes.