Story of Mary: Introduction

A ten-part video series about waste management, initially published in 2013, revisited in 2018.

When the Juba In The Making project started, back in 2013, there wasn’t a civil war on going in South Sudan. Rather, the country still enjoyed its status of “newest country in the world”, drawing sympathy and interest. We wanted to tell the stories of several characters “making the city” day by day, and building their lives at the same time. First, we filmed the quest of university students trying to make the city cleaner, attempting at clarifying what was going on in terms of waste management in town.


After Juba In The Making was interrupted by the civil war, this series was finally released in 2016, on the first version of our website and on French newspaper L’Humanité. We re-publish it here in its integrality, and revisit some of its characters, five years after we filmed them. That’s an ongoing process, but we already have some news from Angelina Juang, a woman whom we had filmed in Munuki, and who was involved in plastic bottles recycling.


Here’s an highlight of the journey the Story of Mary takes you through:


As a start, the students Jacob, Bahadeen and Mary visit their neighbours, in Souk Sita district, to understand how they deal with their garbage – in the absence of a waste collection system (part 2). In this area, there was a scrap metal dealer, and they pay him a visit too (part 3), before meeting with a Ugandan man equipped with a wheelbarrow, collecting and dumping waste from people’s houses – and making a good living out of it (part 4).


The students then embark on a visit to the Lagoon dumpsite, on the outskirts of Juba, where they are involved in a waste-analysis exercise conducted by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP). An occasion to listen to the stories of waste-pickers working at the dumpsite (part 5, part 5.1 and part 5.2). The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was involved in developing waste management in Juba, and the students decide to go and ask them some questions; they will learn about the pilot program put in place by the Juba City Council (part 6).


A question also needed some answers: was there anyone recycling plastics in Juba? The students find out about the existence of a women cooperative in Munuki and spend time with Angelina and her colleagues (part 7). They follow the plastic bottles’ journey up to the recycling facility operated by the NGO Juba Recycles (part 8). Later on, convinced they were starting a movement, they go and seek the support of fellow students and professors at the University of Juba, to promote change in the city (part 9). All these efforts culminate with the cleaning campaign in Juba, with participation of the army; but it will be a short-lived victory. War breaks out and disrupts most projects (part 10). The Juba City Council however continues its efforts and the students vow not to give up their dream of a cleaner city.


Story of Mary
Production: Juba In The Making
Year: 2013 (filming), 2016 (release)
Total duration: 52 min
Based on an idea by Gabriela Jacomella and Florence Miettaux
Research: Gabriela Jacomella and Florence Miettaux
Camera Operator, Editor and Director: Florence Miettaux
With the participation of:
Makur Jacob Akuei, Baha Eldeen Hassan
Voice of Mary: Alice Oleya Jino
Music: Caesar Mayen
Studio Sound Technician: Kenyi Evans Wani

    Garang Mausoleum,

    Lagoon Dumpsite,



    University of Juba