To mark the occasion of a new arrival, we all went out to a Yemeni restaurant in Khartoum 2 a.k.a. A Slightly Fancier Part Of Town. Interestingly, we ate in a tent on the second floor of a restaurant (I assume erecting tents inside buildings is a traditional Yemeni custom), which meant we all had to sit cross legged on the floor, and share all the food in the middle which we ate with our hands. Fuck you cutlery. The food was a (delicious) mixture of chicken, rice and things in sauces which I could describe but not actually name. Sorry about that. If it helps, apparently a previous volunteer had been quite sure one dish was “brains”. We concluded that if it was indeed brains, then it was good brains. So that was fine. After dinner, we went for tea and I had the joy of sitting on three broken plastic chairs at once. I would have gone and found one chair that actually functioned independently as a chair should, but the tea lady insisted, so three chairs it was.
BUT THEN. It happened. We’d been asked to go and help collect firewood. Perfectly reasonable. Except what appeared at first like a perfectly innocuous wood-collecting jolly into the desert, actually turned out to be a bloody scorpion-locating excursion. While we were busy collecting exactly zero firewood, one guy was turning up rocks, checking branches, and then triumphantly picked up one specimen (BY THE STING) and informed us that this could easily kill a person. Luckily, after he found the next one, seconds away from where we were supposed to be sleeping that night, he ‘moved’ it elsewhere. Imagine having to wee behind bushes after this. Imagine it. CAN YOU IMAGINE IT? It was worse than that.
At one point, a farmer saw us walking and yelled at us to come over and have some tea with his mates in the shade. SHADE – YES. They were very interested in where we were from, why we were there, and if I was in fact the wife of my friend. Awk. The trip home was fun, since first, one of my friend’s students happened to be driving by and shouted “TEACHER, WE DRIVE YOU!” so we got ourselves a lift part of the way there, and then there was a gigantic hole on the floor of the bus for the rest of the journey. Oh, Sudan.
I hope everything is well with all of you guys. See you next week with more Sudanese related nonsense,
Emily (and Audrey) x