between the village of Abu Usher and the new village of Hamdnalla is the water escape, where the runoff water from the canal system enters the Blue Nile. The water runs down a channel and is the closest thing to a waterfall in the neighbourhood.
At the Eid many people go and visit and say prayers at the graves of their loved ones, Because of the weather conditions the grave markers need to be replaced from time to time because the blown sand erodes the paint from the markers. More people are demarcating the grave site with bricks as the wind also removes the heaped sand. Now a few people are using stone markers.
Those thought to have been especially religious or holy men may have metal cages round the grave or long poles with 'flags ' on.
So, relatives often go to tidy up and make the graves look better.
Shrines can be found throughout the Sudan, erected in memory of a holy man. They are usually a square building with a steep domed roof. The most famous one is that of the Mahdi [see Omdurman tips]. When travelling through the flat plains of central Sudan, a gubba may be the first sign that a village is near. Many are actually inside the cemetery, but others are not.
As you enter Abu Ushar is a newly built shrine for a learned religious man who died a few years ago, Sheikh Abdelnour. He started a Quranic school for boys, when education was rare. He continued teaching in and establishing other religious institutions throughout his life, and there is now even a University which began as an Islamic college.
Because several generations share a house, and whenever there is an Eid or family event, all family members come to the ancestral house, you would think accomodation a problem, but it isn't. A usual house will have a couple of rooms and verandas, an external kitchen, and toilet/shower room.
Rooms will have 3 or 4 beds for people to relax or sleep on, but for about 9 months of the year [or more] beds are set up in the courtyard. Sometimes the sexes are segregated, especially if there are guests, but if there is only family the courtyard can resemble a dormitory.
The beds may be made of metal or be traditional wooden rope-strung beds [anagreeb , pl.] A cotton filled matress that can be rolled up and carried in or out, a pillow, sheet and covering are all that are needed for a good night's sleep in the open air under the brilliant stars.
By day everything, except the bed frames, are stored away.
As mentioned elsewhere, people also eat together, usually up to ten people to a single tray .Whether meals are eaten indoors or out depends on the time of day and the weather.
the town is very calm and pleasant to visit when there is no Eid. People live a traditional life of earning a living and visiting. There is no stress as is found in Khartoum for example.
The climate is also better and many activities take place out of doors.
The communal life is a dominant feature with several generations living together in one compound/house.
When there is any special event [Birth, death, Marriage] everyone chips in with cash or a helping hand, bringing food, helping with preparations and sharing emotions.
Fondest memory: This year I experiencedbeing in Abu Ushar when it rained. There was unseasonable rain at the end of October on the night before the Ramadan Eid. Thunder, lightning and a downpour, helped reduce the heat of the preceding days. Unlike in other villages built on clay, Abu ushar is built mainly on sand and the rain soon sinks in, not leaving puddles and preventing the movement of cars.
When we arrived from Khartoum, the skies were grey, and a rainbow appeared. For some people it was the first time to see a rainbow in real life.
The grey skies meant the normal view of a sky filled with stars would not be visible. The stars are one thing I miss when away from the village. I have learnt a lot of the constellations and clusters from lying outside on still summer nights.