Thursday, November 03, 2005

I have survived Ramadan - and as anyone who's ever been on the road around sunset in a country like Sudan will know, this is a proud achievement indeed. With everyone desperate to break their fast at home or in a central meeting place like the town market, being on the roads during Ramadan is one of the most frightening experiences I have had in Darfur.

Granted, the roads tend to be quite empty at this time (most people have already settled comfortably around their big communal dinner trays and wait patiently for the call of sundown) - but those that are still on them tend to be starving men on a mission. Who think nothing of driving at 100km/h across unpaved roads.

The donkeys (and, more worryingly, the children) become mere flashes of colour in your peripheral vision, and I've found it's better to close my eyes and hang on to the handlebars for my dear life (obviously, this works better when you're the passenger, not the driver) rather than bear witness to dozens of near misses and quasi-suicidal maneuvers.

Having said this, I do admit I will miss the jovial atmosphere in the markets during the Ramadan 'fatur' (meal time). It is almost impossible to walk past a group of friends, acquaintances or even complete strangers and not hear the words 'itfaddal' (you're welcome), accompanied by eager waving of hands inviting you to join in the fun of dipping little round breads into tasty sauces, asida (a kind of porridge) or grilled meats.

Having not fasted during the day myself, I used to feel like a bit of an imposter during these dinners - but the warmth and traditional Sudanese hospitality soon made me forget that part.

So Ramadan kerim, Sudan. And I'm relieved to hear it will be safe to venture back onto the roads during this weekend's Idd festival...

2 Comments:

At , Blogger http://fieldrelief.co.nr said...

http://fieldrelief.co.nr is displaying recent resolution from a commission of UNESCO about education in Sudan. It appeals NGOs and other organisations to focus on education for Peace and developement in Sudan.

 
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