So I was talking to my dad about Sudan and his memories and decided to jot down a few things I love and a few I hate ( cos it ain’t all rainbows and sunshine) about Sudan:
10 things I hate:
1. The so called ‘government’ – these are a bunch of crazies who took over the country by force and are responsible for almost everything that is currently wrong with it. (There’s probably a more balanced and political explanation for this somewhere..)
2. The humidity – as soon as I hop off the plane my hair explodes and makes a dramatic entrance
3. The red dust that covers absolutely everyone/ everything as soon as you touch down on the motherland. Whether it’s the local kid’s faces/ your hair/ your new clothes/ INSIDE your mouth, etc. This red dust of vengeance knows no bounds.
4. EXTREME heat on Summer days
5. Occasional places which have the old ‘hole in the ground’ type toilets. Initially I found this all very exciting – until I managed to drop my phone into the dreaded hole of doom that is.
6. Huge MAN SIZED insects – no need to elaborate
7. Dubious healthcare system – refer again to point one.
8. Corruption (point 1)
9. The deterioration of the educational system which was once world class. Once again refer to point bloody one. Sigh.
10. The terrible infrastructure-
Seriously. Last time I was there I witnessed a man and his car half topple into a puddle that looked more like a gateway to the darkest pits of hell, it was so deep. This man hopped out of his little motor car or ‘ragsha’ as it’s called in Sudan and nonchalantly walked away with it. Everyone carried on as normal – that really shouldn’t be okay.
10 things I love about Sudan:
1. The beautiful places you can visit, many of which remain relatively unknown, e.g. The ancient pyramids (yeah! We have pyramids too!)
2. The kind nature of its people – everywhere you go you have a friend. Sudanese people are so friendly and warmhearted, and very accommodating. Example, once when we were there I, being sensible and forward thinking didn’t go to the loo before we left for a long journey. I then decided to drink the best part of a 2 litre bottle of water in all my wisdom. Inevitably I was bursting for the loo and was on the brink of publicly disgracing myself before my uncle stopped the car and told me to just knock on one of the houses nearby and ask to use their toilet. Being brought up in the UK the thought of this horrified me. What if they thought I came to attack them/ kidnap them and called the police, what if they took matters into their own hands with a large and dangerous bat etc etc. Anyway the emergency signals from my bladder soon interrupted this thought process and I threw myself into the nearest doorway and knocked furiously. After some quick explaining the lady of the house restrained herself from laughter and directed me towards her loo. She even offered me tea but after thanking her and telling her my family were outside waiting for me she ran into her kitchen, made us sandwiches and some ‘karkade’ which is a Hibiscus drink and sent me on my way. This encapsulates Sudanese nature – I was a total stranger who quite literally waltzed in from the street, I was overwhelmed by her kindness.
3. Fruit and veg – it always tastes better there – don’t ask me why
4. Gleaming white teeth. Dunno if it’s the water there or what but everyone seems to have an excellent set of gnashers. Keep your sunnies on cos if the sun doesn’t blind you their smiles will! (Drumroll for that excellent joke please – no..? Oh, ok then..)
5. Everyone has a bed in their living room, and you are invited to nap if you wish – YES PLEASE.
6. Sudanese weddings/ parties/ anything that involves dancing. These people know how to get down!
7. Different languages – being such a huge place and all there are so many different cultures and languages on one land and that is a beautiful thing.
8. Celebrities – I’ve always liked that unlike in the West where celebrities are revered and need to have bodyguards everywhere they go and people like to faint on occasion when meeting one, in Sudan it’s all very casual. Like if you met M Wardi back in the day you might invite him over for a cup of chai and thrust a guitar in his face, asking him to sing that song of his you really like.
9. FOOD. Sudanese food is awesome, and what’s even better is people like to feed you everywhere you go.. They even get offended if you decline. That certainly works for me.. Please sir, can I have some more?
10. The Nile – especially the ‘mugran’ where the blue and white Nile meet. STUNNING.
11. The overwhelmingly optimistic nature of its people who, despite hardship and borderline political meltdown, whilst living under the corrupt control of a dictator still remain happy and giving and hopeful. (There should only have been 10 but I got carried away)