Friday, 9 November 2012

9th November – a place to call our own

Our own front door
After two and a half months of living out of suitcases and a very difficult accommodation situation when I was in Ed Damer last term, I am finally in a beautiful, comfortable, permanent home.  Griselda has very generously allowed me and my fellow volunteer Kate to use her second home in Ed Damer for the rest of our stay.  I arrived yesterday, ahead of Kate, whose paperwork is still being processed.  It felt wonderful to unpack. 

It is a traditional Sudanese apartment, similar to the village homes where I have stayed as a guest.  As in the villages it is part of a larger family compound, home to Griselda’s husband’s relatives.  The family consists of three generations, from grandmother to three young children ranging from 2 months old to about 4 years old.  They spent yesterday and today feeding me up.  In true Sudanese fashion, they are completely perplexed that I would want to have my own sleeping space.  Yesterday evening they asked me several times, ‘aren’t you scared to sleep on your own?’ clearly unable to believe my answer.
Kate and I have one bedroom, with a kitchen area and a shower/toilet room leading off it.  There is also a separate sitting room.  Both rooms lead off a large veranda, where I slept last night with great contentment. 
The apartment is a short walk from the local grocers’ shop (which sells many necessities but not fresh food) and a slightly longer walk from the area where all the town schools are situated.  To my joy, there is also a small archaeological museum close by which I will investigate as soon as possible.
I was introduced to the local greengrocer this morning, who comes every Friday and Saturday.  He comes to the door using a donkey and cart and sells a good range of vegetables and fruit, all very fresh.  As Kate and I will probably be working on Friday mornings, we will have to buy from him on Saturdays.  There is also a ‘women’s’ souq on Saturdays, so we will be able to take our pick.  Saturdays are definitely shopping day.

This evening I went out shortly before dusk to look around the area.  I followed the railway track which goes through the town.  Some boys were playing there who were very keen to be photographed.  I also saw the Coptic church and was invited in by some of the congregation.  I was told that this week is the feast of St George, which lasts for several days.  I talked to a family who have come all the way from Brighton where their father is a taxi driver to join the celebrations. 


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