{Ramadan Log 2013}

When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person died for no reason – Hemingway

The last week or so of Ramadan I stopped writing because I got taken with the rain.

Got taken with the romance then the horrors of the seemingly harmless showers.

It does make me proud that a youth group such as Nafeer was able to live up to the true meaning of their name, but its disheartening to know that this voluntary group is the only source of actual help to all those stranded, without food/water/medicine/shelter.

You hear it, you see it, you know it when they say that the Sudanese Government is useless. But when it happens in such clear cut emergencies… it is horrifying.

This terrible thought has been running through my mind and it grows with frequency. Even when the clouds darkened today, and the first drops hit, I kept thinking;

I hope it never stops raining.

I hope waters go past our ankles to reach beyond our doorsteps, into our living rooms, past our waists, swallowing the tv, my laptop, the ipad, the deep freezer, the books, heirlooms, the stowed away cash & gold, swallow indiscriminately every racksha, every amjaad, every Toyota, Landrover, Benzes, ran shacks, to mansions, have these muddy waters rise in every corner of Khartoum, & when the sunlight would hit these muddy waters just so, we’d be floating about, treading, heartbeats erratic, bopping with no belongings but finally belonging, realizing that help never was & never will be coming, comprehending that no wasta, no connection would be of any use, that in this catastrophe we are all one & the same and maybe finally the apathy would be flushed away and we’d feel, be, as one… all because of the rain.

I wish each and every one of you a blessed Eid, & whether in dark or bright times, kindly keep Sudan in your prayers.

*Photos of the damage and devastation of the current floods in Khartoum used in this post can be seen here. If you would like to donate, volunteer or receive up to date information click here.

“As a lotus flower is born in water, grows in water and rises out of water to stand above it unsoiled, so I, born in the world, raised in the world having overcome the world, live unsoiled by the world”

               – Buddha

There are two scenes that I’ve been unable to stop replaying in my mind. Am only sharing one. The second am still trying to fathom.

It was on my way back from work in an amjaad that I saw him.

I wasn’t sure if he was a beggar, or a darweesh, or both, but the old man was in bad shape. His jalabeeya was in tatters at its ends, stained in all hues of beige, carried a large sac behind his back like the ones they use to store flour or sugar, filled with I had no idea what, paired with prayer beads around his neck, a green cap on his head, and a stick that he used as a cane. But his appearance & what I thought he was doing was not what made me pay attention to him.

Sadly, you see so many beggars that at some point its like you’ve seen them all. It was actually the amjaad driver who told me to take heed of al haaj. This was before Ramadan, and there was this week where in four consecutive days the heat had reached its highest, so the old man carried in his hands two Safia plastic bottles, each filled with water.

He rested his walking stick against a wall, and unscrewed each bottle. Now, if I was in his place, heck not even as a beggar, I would have guzzled that water, and if there was any left, make it rain all & only on me.

But in all calmness, and with all finesse he chose to bend down & water a sickly plant that was in a pot on the side of the road.

With nimbleness he screws back on the caps, places the bottles in his sac, grabs his walking stick, & when the traffic finally moved, I was gazing at his slowly moving form, until I couldn’t see him.

Such poetic irony in a country where those with too much keep taking & barely give anything, while the man with nothing is able to give everything.

As if Rabana wanted me to take even more heed, I saw that same old man again yesterday. It was in a busy intersection, with his same tattered jalabeeya, in his cupped hands a coin was dropped by a passerby. In them were already some pound notes & more coins. From across the street these streets kids came running towards him, and with his hands still cupped he turned to them, offering the change like candy. Each kid laughed & picked at his change & the old man was wearing the widest, toothiest grin.

And he was probably fasting.

He has a viable excuse to be miserably bitter & sunk in an apathetic hole, offering nothing to a society that has abandoned him & is already in the deepest hole of inaction. He owes nothing, yet he holds back nothing. Why admire & aspire to the gorgeous, the smartest, the richest, & the most powerful when we have such untainted exquisiteness of humility found in that old man?

If I, if we could emulate but a fraction of his grace…  

Vexation of Spirit

I had already written out my last few entries but two things happened; one, I forgot my laptop charger at work over the weekend (with age, memory deteriorates) two, the shitty outweighed the lovely.

I’ve been taught from a very young age the merits of decency; that no matter how terrible a person is, you react, treat, & speak with decency.

Sometimes, I resent my upbringing.

It’s not that I was not equipped with the saying ‘its a doggy dog world out there’, but I was not prepared for the frequency of the utter crap of an excuse for decorum, especially in Sudan. And what is more frustrating is that it comes from those that had a similar upbringing to mine.

It’s hard, it’s exhausting to be dignified in an environment that lacks all propriety. When people, and situations screw you not once, not twice, but umpteenth times over it gets seriously daunting and even useless. I understand that even if a situation or person become abhorrent it does not give me the excuse to act the same way, because I know better. I try my best to act fairly, to be benevolent and always forgiving… but I’ve slipped twice, and when I had, I was brutal & heartless.

And am not sorry for that.

This should disturb me, & I thought maybe with the month of Ramadan I’d be able to meditate & maybe find some sort of forgiveness. But I’ve found none, instead, a sense of self respect & the ability to finally draw a line & say with no shame, or regret that my decency cannot, & will not be taken for granted.

day15

“لا تجالس أنصاف العشاق، ولا تصادق أنصاف الأصدقاء، لا تقرأ لأنصاف الموهوبين،لا تعش نصف حياة، ولا تمت نصف موت،لا تختر نصف حل، ولا تقف في منتصف الحقيقة، لا تحلم نصف حلم، ولا تتعلق بنصف أمل، إذا صمتّ.. فاصمت حتى النهاية، وإذا تكلمت.. فتكلّم حتى النهاية، لا تصمت كي تتكلم، ولا تتكلم كي تصمت.

إذا رضيت فعبّر عن رضاك، لا تصطنع نصف رضا، وإذا رفضت.. فعبّر عن رفضك،
لأن نصف الرفض قبول.. النصف هو حياة لم تعشها، وهو كلمة لم تقلها،وهو ابتسامة أجّلتها، وهو حب لم تصل إليه، وهو صداقة لم تعرفها.. النصف هو ما يجعلك غريباً عن أقرب الناس إليك، وهو ما يجعل أقرب الناس إليك غرباء عنك.

النصف هو أن تصل وأن لاتصل، أن تعمل وأن لا تعمل،أن تغيب وأن تحضر.. النصف هو أنت، عندما لا تكون أنت.. لأنك لم تعرف من أنت، النصف هو أن لا تعرف من أنت.. ومن تحب ليس نصفك الآخر.. هو أنت في مكان آخر في الوقت نفسه.

نصف شربة لن تروي ظمأك، ونصف وجبة لن تشبع جوعك،نصف طريق لن يوصلك إلى أي مكان، ونصف فكرة لن تعطي لك نتيجة النصف هو لحظة عجزك وأنت لست بعاجز.. لأنك لست نصف إنسان.

أنت إنسان وجدت كي تعيش الحياة، وليس كي تعيش نصف حياة ليست حقيقة الإنسان بما يظهره لك.. بل بما لا يستطيع أن يظهره، لذلك.. إذا أردت أن تعرفه فلا تصغي إلى ما يقوله .. بل إلى ما لا يقوله.”

― Kahlil Gibran

day14

Blown Hither and Thither

As Ramadan progresses I find my level of energy & tolerance rapidly decreasing. This in itself is a test. But this morning, I was heavier than a pile of rusted lead.

I just couldn’t, wouldn’t get up.

And then when I noticed how the screen to my window was lightly yet insistently tapping against the glass, I knew it was a cool morning. So I decided right then and there that I was going to be late for work… for at least an hour.

Why?

Because I needed this. So without preamble, no shai bil laban & gargoush to accompany me, with puffy, half closed eyes I sat fil balacona. I don’t remember the last time I sat so undisturbed fil Sudan. And on a morning like this.

It took me back to those days when 7abooba was still walking, would be up before sunrise, moving serenely through the kitchen of our old house & it was never the creeping sun rays or the flies that woke me but the smell of fresh milk being heated with cloves, & I’d get up with my eyes pretty much closed because I knew my way, which loose marble tile to avoid so not to make noise, make my way outside & I’d always find my dad watching the birds & he’d always say how as a child through out the seasons the amount of types of exotic birds that rested by the Nile, how he wished he could’ve taken pictures, but then who could’ve imagined that it would all go under…

Now I watch the dust dancing this way and that, as if imitating waves, or waves imitate the wind, or both were joyous as I in this moment of simply sitting with unbrushed teeth, scary hair, raccoon eyes watching plastic bags metamorphose into whirling miniature black & white dervishes.

I needed this.

Day13

“…for women bring trouble as surely as night follows day…”
       ― H. Rider Haggard

Took the parents out for fatoor. I was worried that the Nazi of OCD for order & cleanliness would rear its head at the restaurant. Thankfully the gleaming utensils met umi’s standards. While we were waiting for the azaan, a group of gentlemen walk in, fluently speaking 3rabeezy (Arabic/English) going on about how difficult Ramadan is for coffee drinkers & especially smokers.

“You’re not actually addicted to the nicotine yakhy…”

I was half-way through rolling my eyes when I had to stop mid-roll. What exactly did I find annoying? That they were speaking English? That they were being a bit loud & slightly silly? Wasn’t I the same exact way (& even more obnoxious) when out with friends? I had to shake my head & tell myself to stop being a hater. I didn’t bother to really look at them or contemplate on my reaction because I was too focused on teasing my parents. While waiting at the buffet line, everything that was being said around me was white noise because I was so entranced by the food. But even through the clamor of elation going off in my head while planning my method of attack, these words were able to ring through;

“It’s like that… what was his name? The hero of ‘King Solomon’s Mines’… mino, mino.. Aaah Quatermain!”

I paused mid scoop.
Did he just…

And I looked about me, searching for this source and it was like he was aglow in a gorgeous cloud of fairy dust. I wanted to drop my plate, run to him, grasp both of his hands & squeal “YOU READ!” And then he’d quote me a line;

“Listen! What is life? It is a feather, it is the seed of the grass, blown hither and thither, sometimes multiplying itself and dying in the act, sometimes carried away into the heavens. But if that seed be good and heavy it may perchance travel a little way on the road it wills. It is well to try and journey one’s road and to fight with the air. Man must die. At the worst he can but die a little sooner.”

Then we’d argue over who would win a knife fight: Robinson Crusoe or Edmond Dantès. After I’d win the debate we’d laugh for no reason, become fast friends & maybe even each others chix… but I was still standing there with a ladle full of fatoush, wearing the most lopsided grin.

Because Rabana has a great sense of humor.

Never mind that it was Ramadan, never mind that I had no clue who the guy or his friends were, never mind that I am the most awkward fashla when trying to woo but instead end up looking really haughty, bored & unapproachable (its a self-defense mechanism!), never mind that I’d rather cut my tongue off before making the first move, never mind that our society in general doesn’t look too favorably on girls aslan making the first move, never mind that the guy himself was lingering a bit longer than necessary at the buffet line even after his friends had gone, his plate full, apologizing for being in my way when he really wasn’t… Never mind all of that except for the fact that I was out on a date with my parents.

But this wasn’t the first (or last) time that Rabana shared a delightful paradox, & I’d learned not to take it to heart but instead have a good laugh & move on. So I went back to the parents, recounted the conversation I’d heard, aboy was all delighted that ‘kids’ are still reading the classics, & umi was still marveling at the beef & wondering just how did they make it tender so.

Do not look Gloomy

Am not going to apologize for not writing the last few days and if you were expecting me to make up for it with a longer entry… ya my attention span is preposterous. On day ten I was in a shabby mood & it reflected in the way that I went somewhat ballistic at umi for storing all the 3aish in the deep freezer.

But first, lets address this deep freezer.

I get it. I get that if you want food to last, especially in Sudan’s inferno heat & erratic power outages, the safest & smartest place to store food is the deep freezer. But umi takes it to another level. Nothing fresh is left out anymore, almost everything has to be thawed out for hours. You can imagine how annoying that is on a regular day, but while you are fasting? Its like a starving bear combined with the most burdensome cravings of a pregnant lady being told ‘You cant… & never will have that.’

So when I crazily looked about the kitchen for bread umi tells me all nonchalantly ‘oh naseeto fil deep freezer’. Whatever hold I had on being calm, vanished & I went off on a tirade.

“Gisatkom shino wal freezer da? In3al al freezer, yakhy ma moomkin, ma moomkin! Mafy wala  7itat 3aish, lay, lay kida? Ba3ad shewaya 7adakheeleeny ana o’ aboy al freezer, da janoon! Zift al freezer zatu…”

And I muttered & sputtered while taking out the bread, making a show of angrily opening up the plastic bag with as much noise as possible. And while I was waiting for the bread to thaw out, my rage & annoyance disappeared in a dazed puff… & I was confounded.

And deeply mortified.

I had no excuse. None. To act so childishly and all because of what? Because I’ve been fasting & now I had to wait another extra twenty minutes to sate my craving? All that I was meant to learn, reflect  & better myself on, I threw out the window in an instant for something so pesky & miniscule.

Ramadan at times is used as justification to act like a complete asshole. And ya, its hot, you’re stressed, everyone at work is making a crappy effort because Ramadan is also an excuse to not make an effort in this ‘world’ but only for the hereafter, you have no energy, cars in traffic all got the Quran blaring out their speakers but that doesn’t stop traffic from being shitty, or that dude in the car who almost hit yours & him yelling shitty things at you equals double shitty, & when you get home, parched, sweaty, miserable, the tap water runs the color of a weak frothy cappuccino that abruptly stops…

The true test lies in your reaction to all of this.

After my stupid deep freezer stint I had no appetite, instead I went to umi & kissed her forehead. I know that does not absolve me from anything but I had to start from somewhere. So ya, am not apologizing for not posting the last few days because, I found myself diverging from the true meaning of this holy month. This is not the month to be something that am not (acting piously in front of all so they could see from the outside) but my chance to reflect inward, & admit to my shortcomings not only as a Muslim but a daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, colleague & citizen.

Isaiah 58:3-7
‘Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?’

DAY9

Matthew 6:16-18 

“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

DAY8

“I know your culture – your artists, writers, films. Do you know mine?” -Oday Rasheed

What I love about writing is that it gives you the ability to create anything & everything. No expensive equipment or fancy skills are needed, only; paper, pen, your experiences & unlimited imagination.

Yet of all the obstacles that come in the way of my writing… I am the biggest, cruelest, lamest one of all.

I am not my toughest critic. I envision a critic as being a very elegant, smoke jacket wearing, slicked back hair, lighting a pipe, with one arched eyebrow, sitting in a velvet armchair, stroking a goatee saying ‘Am intrigued… go on’.  No I am a straight up scumbag that is never impressed, obnoxiously inappropriate & always… always talking smack about my writing. Add to that my being a perfectionist & the mix is even more wretched.

And then there is the fear of not meeting the expectation of readers. The fear of not giving justice to what is in my head. The fear of not being genuine enough, or serious, or witty, or clever, or insightful, or….

Its a deep wormhole that I’ve found myself many a times sunk in. And I think a lot of Sudanese writers are too.

But I, we, cant afford to be stuck like this.

Our story is being told for us. And while we glower & holler at the misrepresentation (as we should), whether it be negative or just fanciful, there aren’t enough alter-perceptions of us, by us.

We owe it not only to Sudan, but to al shabab; the ones living in, out and in between of Sudan. To conciliate their struggle, make them feel that what they’re seeing, thinking, experiencing, all this madness of existing, all that makes them who & what they are, make them realize that even though what is happening & is being done to Sudan doesn’t make sense, that doesn’t mean that they as individuals don’t make sense.

So note to self & to all sunken Sudanese writers/bloggers/painters/photographers/poets; the world is eager to hear your stories… don’t be silent for too long.

day7r

All that is not given is lost -Hansari Pai

Came home today to find the book shelves done.

This is a big deal.

There’s almost a festive feel to the air, except for the dampening disapproval of umi who glowers in silence since it wasn’t her idea & she’d always disliked aboys collection of books. She sees them as ‘hatash’ (never mind her outrageous collection of cookware, I swear this lady has four sets of the same glassware). Thankfully, I inherited my fathers love for books. By the age of ten I’d finished the abridged versions of the ‘classics’; Treasure Island, Black Beauty, Secret Garden, A little Princess, King Solomon’s Mines, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, David Copperfield, Little Women, etc. By my early teens I’d read the full versions & then went on to devour, yes, literally devour whatever I could get my hands on, and aboy was more than wiling to get me whatever, however many books. Like geeked out tweens we waited in line at 2am for the newest Harry Potter. Ask me to gather all of my possessions and more than half of it would be books.

To finally find a worthy resting place for my dads collection of books in Sudan is momentous.

As we both were standing there, side by side, tilting our heads this way and that, grins so wide on our faces, mine getting impossibly wider at umi’s muttering of ‘Who is going to clean this? This is a magnet of turaab….’ I slap my dad on his back & congratulate him on the beautiful choice of wood & design, excitedly thinking in my mind how we would organize his collection.

Aboy was looking oddly at me, then finally said ‘But this is for you… no one cares about these things anymore, except for you.’

He pats my back gently, then goes on to umi, trying to calm her fears of the impeding disaster of how to clean these monstrous bookshelves.

I stand still, and for the life of me, I still don’t have a reply.

DAY6

The Mists Clear

On my way back from work in an amjaad we get stuck in traffic. Although a traffic jam in Khartoum is nothing compared to the endless ones in Cairo or Seattle, it doesn’t lessen the fact that it sucks to be trapped in a box of metal that is toasty & stifling.

I take advantage of this moment.

Every face; the drivers, the riders, the walkers, the just standing, the begging, the selling, the tired, the pissed, the wooden, the lopsided smilers, the creepy grinners, the air conditioned, the tinted, the roll down window winders, the fanning with any object, the wiping away at the sweat, all… all looking but not really seeing, and each in their own exhausted bubble of living.

And I wonder.

Are you living out the meaning of the name your parents gave you? Are you bettering yourself & those around you? Are you happy as you are, where you are, what you are? Have you become who you aspire to be? When was the last time you were utterly carefree?

I have this habit of making duaas for random strangers.

To the chick in the worn out hijaab, leaning out the public bus, resting your forehead to the arch of your wrist… I hope whatever worry, whatever fatigue you are feeling be lifted. And to the guy on the street corner, squatting on his haunches and with deep concentration & care dresses a hanger with a babies dress, readying his ware to be sold amongst the cars… I hope all of your dreams come true.  And to the older gentlemen driving the amjaad am in, profusely sweating & leaning your forehead against the steering wheel….

You know what makes the dead heat in traffic worth it? That moment when a random breeze, so cool, so rare blows through & when it hits against your damp skin, the sensation just makes you want to sing because it’s like you just got a fresh bouquet of magnolias & jasmine. And I could see a slight smile on the drivers lips which makes that moment all the more worthwhile because my duaa for him had just been answered.

DAY5

The Brain & the Belly Burn

There comes a week in the month that we all… No, we ladies know all too well.

Indeed you guessed right dudes, & indeed I’ll go there but I’ll spare you the details of the monthly miracle.

Instead lets talk about how the awkwardness is amplified during the month of Ramadan. It was so much easier to deal with ‘the off week’ abroad because no one really knew what the heck I was doing to begin with (fasting), & if they did I could give a basic explanation of ‘why am off’ while stuffing my face with steaming teriyaki chicken stuffed wantons.

No biggie.

But amongst fellow Muslim dudes? I feel guilty, ashamed, & just utter angst…. at how I could sneak in a bite of delicious sandawich fool with extra sesame oil, jibna o’ shamar without any fasting peeps walking in on me. It could all be in my head, & I may be just overreacting, but I get absurdly chagrined when a guy is like ‘o’ inty ma syma?’, and I swear it feels like the worst day in grade school when you realize you memorized the wrong multiplication table. I cant be like ‘Oh I have diabetes!’ because thats lying and defeats the whole purpose of Ramadan. But then I cant point out my minakeer (nail polish), or how bloated I am, or how my bag is packed with tiny wrapped presents (pads) so that the akh would be like ‘Say no more, I have drugs that numb everything. There is no easy way out of the situation.

And why?

Why cant I just say ‘The miracle is happening!’, then we high five & go about doing whatever without any awkwardness or anxiety? Instead, I give a tight lipped smile & mutter nonsense quickly making a getaway. And some overly shamshareen daft dudes continue to insist, like ‘Ma sami3tik, inty 3ayana?’

You know how we say ‘Just because a girl is being over-emotional never assume its that time of the month’?

Well.

When you see a chick during Ramadan not fasting & know she is not terminally ill, or traveling, or pregnant, or whatever other excuse you’ve ticked off in your mind, always assume its that time of the month & don’t say that conclusion aloud (( except ))…. In your head.

But otherwise, never, ever, forever never assume that anytime of the rest of the year.

Wa alaykum al Salam

Day4“You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance. For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether? ” 

                      – from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Allow me to widen my arms and accept whatever they bear within them, no matter how heavy a burden I will need only exult Your name and it will be a blessing. Whatever steps, whatever direction, I follow You. And I will question, and I will falter, & at times halt, but I know You will forgive, for You do nothing without reason or love. I may be cracked and chipped, but only near my breastbone so that the light, Your light may shine through. Purify me with wisdom, bathe me in patience, embrace me in compassion. I seek You, I found You, now allow me, myself to accept & be at peace.

Sourat Al-Baqara 2:286 ‘God does not charge a soul with more that it can bear.’

لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا

day3

A new song rises out of the fire

I missed sahoor.

Or it missed me.

Or we missed each other like two passengers on a separate train. Fact is when aboy tried to wake me up, I told him ‘Am not getting up… no’ & I said a few other things then went back to sleep.

I don’t remember any of this.

Which reminds me… I really should go visit 7abooba. I have yet to wish her a Ramadan Kareem and I know she’ll cuss me out (with love) for not visiting her for almost two weeks bas as always… am busy with being busy but not that busy. And its not that I don’t enjoy visiting her, bil 3aks, we have a grand time of me teasing & making her laugh. Bas every time I see her, I see the concrete evidence of the consequence of age.

She is not as sharp, she forgets & I can see it in her eyes especially. They cloud over & she looks at me and when she says ‘Inty minu?’ I know she’s not joking. So I just take her hand, kiss it and tell her ‘Ana bittik.’ because I look so much like my mother, & 7abooba just nods & smiles. And man that terrifies me.

Because that could be my parents.

Time hasn’t been too unkind on us, my brothers, sister and I,
and though we overlook its treads and marks on our parents faces,
time hasn’t been too unkind,
we have reaped in the wives and husbands, the new jobs, the children to carry on the family name,
time hasn’t been too unkind,
though we try to overlook the marks of age on our parents faces,
where the crows feet had only marked their eyes now has its long strides across their cheeks as if tears, across their foreheads turned into silver to change the color of their hair,
time hasn’t been too unkind,
we sit like this, each with his face, his thoughts, his habits,
and although we’ve heard babas stories a thousand times we still nod and smile as if hearing it for the first time,
and we take heed,
take heed and remember for time never slows,
not even for those that you love the most,
he tells his stories for the thousandth time and we nod and smile,
soak it all and try to remember,
time slows for no one,
not even our parents

day2

We are Lutes

I miss eating from a seenaya.

Last time I ate from one was on a farm in Old Wadi Halfa, which was almost four/five months ago. It rarely happens that we as a family sit on the floor and eat from the seenaya. What with people getting old, their backs, knees not as they used to be, & everyone coming from work/school/errands at different times, to even eat as a family is difficult. Now you just sit at the dining room with your own plate, watching TV as everyone goes about doing their business. But I feel sorry the most for these new oncoming generations of the urbanized city kids who didn’t experience eating from the seenaya everyday…. Having to burn your tongue as you try to stake your territory because there was always that one cousin that had no sense of personal space & ate with no regard, & the sharp slap to your left hand as the reminder to use your right because the Shaitan favors the left, & how every single dish tasted so much better and your appetite grew because so many hues of hands were sharing it, and the stories… God I miss the stories. Not this constant backbiting & he said & she did & she wore & she divorced & she…. Will sitting around the seenaya be something outdated and looked down upon as backward?

Is this a phenomenon that all of Sudan is experiencing, or just this concrete jungle city of Khartoum? And if its only Khartoum, then I hope that the rest of Sudan develops but keeps the little things, so small yet so consequential, alive & thriving.

day1redo

Unseen Sweetness

I cannot remember the last time I celebrated the month of Ramadan in a Muslim country. It wasn’t necessarily a lonely and miserable experience to fast with non-Muslims, but it was a bit daunting to have to explain why & what & how & ‘why again?’ & ‘You cant drink or eat anything… at all?’ & ‘Ya’ll sound like a bunch of vampires…’. So there was this growing yearning for having the chance to experience one of Islam’s holiest months with family in my home country. The chance is here and I am beyond stoked. But like anything in life, a person can get absurdly excited about something, building gigantic expectations like we all did for the ‘Twilight’ movies, except to be sourly  & crushingly disappointed. But thats for me to experience the crash and burn.

I have the naïve expectation that everyone will be extremely nice, I wont get hackled on the streets, amjaad/rickshaw drivers wont try to rip me off & even the sun will lessen its intensity. But then that also means I’ll need to stop (or considerably lessen) my swearing, be super patient & kind to… contemptible peeps. I know, naïve but a chick can dream. I apologize in advance if some of my entries are abrupt and short because I have a very short attention span, coupled with my lack of food intake… it could get interesting.

As for day one… I cant remember. I passed out, woke up to find some crumbs all over the place, hugged the empty plates to my chest and passed out again.

Ramadan Kareem & lets hope at the end of this month I come out more enlightened, humble, and much, much cooler.

Highlight Dish this Eftaar: Shorbat kabkabe (Gorbanzo Bean Soup)

You can never go wrong with kabkabe. Eat it alone its delicious, grind it into mush and its hummus which is double the delicious, add to a salad and that salad feels delicious, but as a soup? Infinity delicious. Its everything that a healthy Ramadan dish should be; light, tasty & wont cause your innards to bloat & explode.

*** I will be updating this post  each day of Ramadan, ending with a total of 30 posts…. inshAllah

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