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Everyone has heard of the famous Sudanese haboobs, or dust storms; however, there is another phenomenon concerning dust, it is a mini- cyclone locally called a dust devil. It is a column of dust that swirls across the ground, scattering leaves, papers etc in its path. When it reaches an obstacle it may come to a halt, and disappear, or verge off along its path. It is fascinating to watch, but rarely causes any damage.
Written Jan 6, 2008
Some people think desert lands have scorpions and snakes crawling all over them. This is not the case. In urban areas they are rare, unless one has arrived in a sack of charcoal, or a load of wood or bricks. However, in rural areas, they can be found under certain conditions. They may lurk under stones, wood or any other item So don’t move any object without looking first. They can be found near walls and in dark places. In January 2008, we had a power cut in a Gezira village after sunset. Two girls got off the bed where they were sitting, and one saw a scorpion on the wall. It had an ant on its back, so they thought it was dead. Still to be safe, a blow with a shoe made it fall, at which it raised its tail. Another blow killed it. That was the second scorpion to be found there in 3 weeks, quite unusual; but a nearby house was being rebuilt, and was probably where they came from.
Not all scorpions give a fatal sting. The scorpions in sandy soil are more dangerous than those of the clay plains, though both can give painful stings. Strangely enough the big black scorpion is almost harmless.
At night always shine a torch where you are walking, and wear proper shoes, not flipflops.
I apologise for the quality of the photo- it was taken by torchlight.
Updated Jan 5, 2008
Just before entering Wad Medani there are water holes that look very tempting on a hot day. Locals from the nearby shanty town will be bathing, washing clothes, swimming or evening filling containers with water, but this water is the effluent from the factories nearby, and could easily be toxic.
Written Jan 31, 2007