-khartoum Feed




Yesterday, I mentioned discounts on software for Department employees.  It turns out Microsoft licenses for State personnel are limited to the MS Office Suite and Office for Mac.  The other product licenses ran out over a year ago.

It's still worth checking out if you're a Department of State Employee or other federal employee.  This program is not well known within the Department.  I usually send out a reminder when I work overseas to let new hires know and remind other staff.  To find out how to get it, State folks can search for the internal link within our intranet by typing "Microsoft Home Use Program".  The first Diplopedia link will take you there and walk you through what you need to do.

Upon leaving the Department's employ, all staff are required to remove the software from their personal computer and destroy associated media. 

Losing old pounds

South sudanese pounds
Last week the Republic of South Sudan introduced its new currency, the South Sudan pound.  Despite North Sudan's agreement to wait on creating any new currency until 6 months after the South's unveiling, North Sudan has gone ahead with their own new Sudan pound this week. 

When I was in Sudan in 2005, the country was still using dinars (symbolic of Arab countries).  Shortly after north/south 2005 peace talks, the country switched back in 2007 to the Sudanese pound (used after Britain's empirical rule of Sudan).  These recent events would retire the four year old Sudanese pound and replace it with the North's and South's new currencies.

While the North says its new currency should have no financial impact on the South's new pound, the South claims it will lose money due to constrains on converting it's old pounds.  The South had planned on using foreign banks to convert the old pound over time, instead of exchanging it with the North's banks. 

There will be many economic challenges in the future for both countries to resolve.  Time will tell if both are able to work together to move forward.

You can read more in this post from The Official Blog of Amb. David H. Shinn.

Southern Sudan's independence

Republic of Southern Sudan  
Africa's Sudan has endured a tulmultuous six year struggle since the 20 year North-South civil war ended with a peace agreement that was signed in 2005.  This Saturday, the world will see another historic moment when The Republic of South Sudan offically succeeds from the North.  Southern Sudanese voted 99% for the succession.  Large oil discoveries, in the South, during the last decade made matters even more complicated as the country always seemed to be on the verge of another civil war.

Washinton Post article

My thoughts and prayers go out to friends there. 


Monday means back to work, but at least it's a short week with the Easter holiday coming up.  I've added another set of pics from Fremantle in the side panel.  They're from the Fremantle Motor Museum.  Lots of motorcycles and cars along with a few boats and other prototype test vehicles.  The weather has started to cool off a bit which is a nice change.  On occasion, I've even broke out a light jacket  when I took off for work. 

Lately, I've had Sudan on my mind.  Looking over the news of the past few months it's still painful to see fighting going on in the Darfur region.  From the sound of it, it's gotten worse since I left last August.  Last week I had a dream I signed up for a second tour back in Khartoum.  I was there the next day.   Funny how dreams can seem so real.  I don't know how I felt but there was a certain calmness about knowing what a place is like and going back there again. 

call your mom

Ok, one last post. . I forgot to mention I had a visit today by some Americans on vacation in Sydney.  I received a call from the parents of a newly sworn-in Foreign Service officer that's heading to my old stomping grounds in Sudan.  They were kind enough to invite me to have a chat after work with them about the FS, Sudan and what it was like living abroad as an ex-pat.  During our talk over coffee, I was reminded of all the good things the service offers those that are fortunate enough to get the call to join. So I'd just like to say Thank you to David and Judy for spending a little time with a fellow American and letting me have a chance to hear about the States and what's going on back home.  I hope that I helped answer any questions you had.  I'm sure your daughter will love the time she spends in Africa.  I still think of it often and know she will too.  Cheers and safe travels. - Dan