there are many public transportations in Khartoum according to its availability and price, some times you should have to wait for a long time for the cheap ones, but for taxi car you can find it immediatly and every where in khartoum (taxi fee some times twenty times double to public ones).
Desert palm leaf handicrafts work is known in almost all Sudan regions, and it is an old craft made by women mainly, they design their house accessories by them selves and some ladies sell it and earn some money especially in towns.
According to my studies as a designer and my knowledge about this craft i try to develop the designs because the traditional ones are no more needed in the market.
It is a thin pie made of leavened sorghum flour its taste is semi similar to yoghurt, there are no commercial bakery for it, but ladies cook it at home then bring it to grocery. It is eaten with other cooked food. Normally it is eaten in lunch but rarely in breakfast but not at all in dinner.
It is known that Sorghum is an ancient cereal grain and was collected 8000 years ago in Sudan, for me i didn't see people use sorghum in the countries i have visit.
It is main Sudanese bread and can be found in bakery and grocery shops, it is made by wheat flour. In rural areas, where there are no commercial ovens due to low population density, ladies cooked it at home.
According to our roots in north of Sudan (Sheriek village) we have our relatives there so we share them in all their occasion and some times in Eids, my father's relatives are in a small island in the Nile river, so when we go there we should have take a ferry to cross the Nile, in those photos my family go there for a marriage occasion and they want to come back to the east shore to take the bus to Khartoum.
Education is very important for most of Sudanese family, because in the past during the European control (1896-1955) till 1970's if you have educational qualification you can find a good job in the government, so education mean a better life in Sudanese beliefs, but now due to the collapse of government and private civil service in Sudan, and the huge number of unemployed graduates (myself is an example) some young people consist a radical thoughts about education, so they left school seats to work in marginal crafts, but for a lucky others, have the possibility to study university and find a job outside Sudan.
It is used widely in Sudan especially in Ramadan (fasting month for muslims), water is add to the red flower after drying and it is better to add some flavour, mint leaves for example and sugar of course.
It is a party before 2 days from the wedding day, where Henna is a dried leaves powder of a certain plant which have a property of making red colour when applying in hands and feet for about an hour, and if applied for 2 or 3 times it become black.
A tray is decorated with flowers and a big dish contain Henna mixture (Henna powder + water+Mahlabya (oily wood perfum mainly from India) is centered in the tray and decorated with candles, ladies start to apply henna to bridegroom friends hands (if want), but for the bridegroom himself apply on hands and feet, during this process a singer is singing and people dance after bridegroom remove Henna he share them in dancing.
In recent time many young men refuse apply Henna, they only prepare a symbolic decorated tray and keep it for show, but they dance with friends and relatives (ladies and gents).
Most of Sudanese are simple and helpful if you need, especially for strangers, according to their beliefs helping others ,if they ask, is a duty and not a grant. Another thing, most of them are generous, for example if you pass by a group (even poor) and they are eating, you must join them even if you take a small piece that mean you respect them.
this nice picture unfortunately is seem it will gradually disappear, because young pepole are not strict about it, for example in past if a woman in a public bus and she didn't find a chair to sit, any man can leave his chair for her, she will sit even without say thanks because it is a must to do it in this case, but now normally you can find men sitting and ladies are standing. Yesterday a case like this happen for an old age lady, she enter the bus and no empty seat was there, i stand up to give her my chair, in the same moment about four men leave thier chairs and stand up, it was nice, i return back to my seat and the old lady also sit and three other chairs are empty, each of the four standing men ask the other to have a sit but he say no no you are the older and it is better you sit . i thought those men feel embarrass when i stand up, but if i didn't do this may be no one can give the old lady his seat.
Ramadan is the month when Muslims refrain from eating , drinking and smoking from sunrise to sunset. Licking stamps, taking medicine; in fact anything entering the mouth is forbidden . Also vomitting or bringing up food will invalidate the fast. Sexual thoughts and actions are not allowed until after the fast is broken. They should also refrain from having bad thoughts or showing anger. In some countries the break-fast is the only meal, in others there will be another meal in the late evening and a snack in the hours before sunrise. The type of food varies too.
In Sudan the main dish is usually aseeda * with a sauce made of dried meat or mince and dry okra sauce [wayka].
In addition can be served:
Soup. Salad .
A meat dish- fried meat, kufta, chicken or fish.
Yoghurt with cucumber. Boiled eggs. Samboksa.
There will also be jugs of juice : lemon, grapefruit, mango, kerkadeh, tamarind, gamardin [gamar el dine, apricot leather] and the staple helamour . [ see separate tip] oves.
Ramadan makes everyone equal, so that the rich feel hunger and thirst like the poor.
Many people eat together, so visitors may see groups of men seated on the ground. Each man may have brought a tray with food and drink, which is eaten communally. Passers -by are invited to partake of the food.
Later the faithful [both men and women] will go to the mosque to do special prayers called el terawih which are only done in Ramadan..
During Ramadan, cafes and restaurants are not allowed to sell food until the sunset prayers have been done. Non-Muslims should respect the fact that Muslims are fasting and not eat , drink or smoke in their presence.
*aseeda is a porridge like dish made from sorghum which has been slightly fermented, and to which fresh sorghum flour and water are added daily.Some of the runny mixture is cooked in a pan with a small amount of water while stirring briskly with a special stick- mufraka., until the dough separates from the sides of the pan. When it is cool, it is turned out onto a deep plate and eaten with the meat sauce.
After Ramadan ends and people resume normal meal times, there are three days of Eid holidays. It is customary to go visiting friends and relatives. At every house the guest will be given a cold drink, sweets and cookies , as well as tea or coffee.
Women in Muslim countries are thought to be restricted and protected, but in Sudan they have a lot of freedom. They even had the vote earlier than some European women, and have always been paid equal wages.
However, in the rural areas life is hard. Women used to have to collect water from the river or well; collect wood for cooking; as well as help with the farming. All this in addition to their role as wife and mother, head cook and bottle washer!
The equipment they use is still fairly primitive.
Many things are beaten by women using a wooden pestle and mortar. Grain, spices and other dried goods especially. The rhythmic pounding can be heard particularly if a wedding is being prepared for. The traditional perfumes include in their ingredients sandalwood, cloves, cinnamon and duffar [a material like finger nails]. All these have to be pounded to a powder that will form the base of the perfume.
Spices will be beaten to a powder for use in cooking; and before grindstones were popular, women used to beat the grain too. Often the work was communal with groups of women working together.
As in most parts of the globe, women of poorer classes find jobs as servants, working the homes of the middle or upper stratas of society. There are jobs as nannies, cooks and general maids. Those who clean houses frequently spurn modern devices like vacuum cleaners, sweeping brushes and mops and prefer to use a towel to wash the floor and a bundle of reeds [mokshasha] to sweep with. No wonder so many complain of back ache as they sweep or wipe with straight legs and bent back.
Henna is an ancient form of decoration going back thousands of years in much of the Middle East and Indian sub-continent.
Basically henna leaves are dried and crushed to a powder, then made into a paste which is applied to the hands and feet.
Boys and girls have henna applied at circumcision. Brides have elaborate designs applied before the wedding day, and then as a married woman henna is applied on a regular basis. The methods of applying it and the designs vary from place to place and follow fashions.
Men apply henna without any decoration when they get married.
In the Sudan. the leaves are mixed with water and sometimes 'nashada', a kind of ammonia, which will make it a dark colour or even black when dry. Or nowadays a chemical [ dye] is added especially for brides to achieve the black colour quickly. Some people develop rashes and allergies as a result of this.
First the feet will be washed and dried, and then the paste is smoothed onto the soles of the feet and tips of the toes. A clean line will be left for men but for women patterns will then be drawn sometimes as far as the knee for a bride, or an inch or so for everyday use.
Then the hands will be cleaned, dried and then have an oil [mahlabiyya] applied to the finger tips . Then the intricate designs are done using either a cone made from a plastic bag with the tip cut off like a forcing bag when icing, an old syringe without the needle, or just a fine piece of dried reed or a matchstick.
The person having the henna done, then sits for several hours until the henna dries and comes off easily. Sometimes the hands will be reapplied several times as the fine decoration also dries rapidly.
When the whole process is deemed finished, the henna is removed, hands and feet are washed and oil is applied to help set and bring out the colour.
Although most women prefer the henna to be dark, some lighter -skinned may prefer to achieve a deep maroon effect.
The hennana [woman who applies the henna] is usually paid quite generously. Sometimes she is a professional working for a hairdresser or at a beauty parlour.
When someone dies in the Sudan, the body is taken for burial as soon as possible the same day after it is prepared and washed and perfumed. It is wrapped naked in a shroud and carried on an angareb [wooden bed] to the graveyard, where friends and relatives gather round the newly dug grave to recite the Koran..
Then mourners return to the deceased's house where the women , who do not attend the burial, are sitting indoors. The men are accommodated in a tent outside, often blocking the street. The tent is not brightly coloured like the ones erected for weddings, but much more muted in tone.
Mourners will be given a glass of water and a glass of 'black' =milkless tea. If the mourner stays for a longer time he/she will be given a meal. Women prepare the food or bring it from their homes to help . Mourners may bring sacks of sugar, tea, coffee as a contribution, or leave a monetary donation.
Nowadays , the official mourning days are reduced to 3 days but people continue coming for a long time. The tent will be dismantled ofter the third day.
Women have the [bad] custom of wailing/keening as they enter the house and when they see any close relatives of the deceased. I found it very difficult to bear, but supposedly it is very cathartic.
If a woman is widowed she has to wear clean white clothes and sit on a bed or the floor to accept the commiserations and condolences. She will wear white for the next 40 days, and is not allowed to leave the house or see men apart from her father/brothers/sons.
With few pavements, and very dusty conditions, shoes quickly become very dirty. But, there are many shoe-shine boys around who are willing to clean your shoes for as little as 50 piastres a pair. They often have a box with metal pieces that they jingle to let you know they are around.
Many of them are homeless or displaced children/boys from the south or west of Sudan. They do this menial job to earn money to keep themselves alive. The boy in the picture comes every Friday [weekend] to clean our shoes and wash my daughter's car. He goes to school during the week, and to earn enough for his requirements and tuition, he does this job..
Some of them turn up at your house or office and clean them while you wait. Others sit on the street waiting for customers.
Give them your custom and prevent them from begging or getting into trouble.
Whenever there is a wedding, hundreds /thousands turn up for the meals.
The breakfast traditionally will have aseeda [sorghum porridge] or kisra with a sauce either made from sour milk or mince and tomato. Ful is always a staple, as is taamia /felafel [see separate tip], salad and shairiya [noodles with sugar] and fateer [flakey pastry with sugar].
For lunch there will be a dry roasted piece of beef, salad, a macaroni/pasta dish, mince with fried potatoes, rigla/molochiya or okra, 'kabab' , stuffed vegetables [maashi], salads of aubergine or mixed vegetable in mayonnaise, followed by custard and fruit, and medowar or 'ragil'=man. [Spanish churros, I think]
When Ramadan is over and normal meals are resumed, it is the custom for people to go visiting. At each house they will be given a cold drink, sweets and cookies, as well as tea and/or coffee.
Africa Road, P.O. Box 12290, Khartoum, Sudan
Good for: Couples
Cornich St, Port Sudan, 79800, Sudan
My wife and I lived in the Burj Al-Fateh Hotel for 5 months. The staff (and there's plenty of them)...more
More Regions in Sudan