Souvenirs from a Sudanese village

One day, while visiting a Sudanese family, I expressed the wish to do what the local population does, that is, to sleep outdoors under the night sky. One cannot do so in the cities unless one owns a house with a courtyard. My friends therefore took me to their village. The Sudanese people, living and working in the urban areas or living abroad, always refer to their home village, which represents an important factor in their social life.
Souvenirs from a Sudanese villageOur host drove us to his home village, Al-Sharafa, which is some 190 kilometers south of Khartoum. We drove for about three hours through many villages and even crossed the Nile on a ferry boat before reaching our destination-a beautiful village with old houses, all built in the same style with lovely drawings on the walls. Upon entering the house we were well received by the men in the family, all dressed in the traditional white attire. We were served the most exquisite traditional dinner consisting of several different dishes made from meat, foul, vegetables, soups, etc.
Since I was the only female who accompanied the men, I joined the women of the house in their quarters after dinner. One part of the courtyard is reserved for the women and their children; this is where they cook, clean and spend some of their time. When bedtime arrived, I was given a comfortable bed, which was placed in the best part of the courtyard so that I would benefit most from this experience. Never before in my entire life have I seen so many stars! It was as if the sky was full of them! It might seem strange, but later a girl told me that she too had this same feeling whenever she returned to her village.
Souvenirs from a Sudanese villageAt night everything was silent, just the breeze blowing quietly, until about 5 o’clock when the minaret started its call for the first prayer in the morning. One of the men in the house came to pick up his eldest son to go to the mosque. I heard them whisper quietly before they rushed off in the early morning dawn.
Once the sun came up, I got out of bed feeling very well rested-there is nothing quite like sleeping outdoors under the sky in a Sudanese village, and I strongly recommended it to all of who ever get the chance!
One thing worth mentioning is Sudanese hospitality; wherever I went I met wonderful and kind people who did everything they could to please me. I was taken everywhere-to the local market, restaurants, visiting people’s homes … « What would you like to see? » « Is there anyone you would like to meet? »
« That’s Africa, » a colleague told me. Here, visitors are always well treated-I can confirm it.