What is Sudan to a Moghtarib (Diaspora)?.


What is Sudan to a Moghtarib (Diaspora)?.

Sabah alkhair,

In a kitchen filled with the laughter of children eating cereal

And a mom making gargoush

Sabah alkhair,

To the dad who replaced his markoub with Italian leather shoes

To seed aldokkan who doesn’t sell baskaweet royal

To seed al laban who comes in a truck

To university students who don’t know the hassle of mowasalat

To teenagers trying so hard to keep up with the ever-evolving Sudanese slang

To my cousin in her moushat and crop-top

To mp3 players blasting Bob Marley, Sharhabeel and the Weeknd

To the kouz on top of the electric water cooler

To the kids fascinated by the physics of the ever-so-cold zeer

To the a’ngaraib that’s just for display fe oudat aldoyouf

To halawa bagara w betifour ale’eed


W Masa’a alkhair,

In a living room crowded by the scent of bakhoor taiman and jazz music

Masa’a alkhair,

To shai almoghrib and chai latté, sitting side by side fe alseeniya

To Filipina nannies making gourasa and pancakes, all the same

To niswan alhila who call before they come over

To niswan alhila who drive their prados to our house

To niswan alhila who still wear tiyab

To dressers covered with sandaliya and Yves Saint Laurent

To the a’arous wearing dahab and jeans

To Friday family brunch with French fries, fatayir and foul

And guys with salat ale’eed swagger; tagiya, shal & Ray-Bans.

To suitcases of jibna mdafara w Abré

To those who enjoy sit-alshay and costa café

To so-called contradictions of moghtarbeen

And predictions of how long we can survive without wi-fi


What is Sudan to a moghtarib?

Sudan is a bambar w jabana that you never use

And Wooden sculptures from soug umdurman hanging on the walls

Cultural items that are supposed to have some deeper meaning

or should give you some vivid memories of incidents that never happened

Sudan is a green, well – now blue, passport that ensures you will be stopped at passport control and every security point

Then wait for hours in not-so-international Khartoum Airport, for luggage

Sudan is that forced annual summer vacation filled with mosquito bites and family visits

It’s constant mockery of your moghtaribeen accent

It’s being guilt-tripped into giving up all your precious new possessions

The ones you bought specifically for this trip

Because you can “get more when you go back”

It is attending weddings with no invitation cards

It is the endless bargaining with seed alragsha

“alma’goul. Ma bnakhtalif, alma’goul bas, khalas ma bnakhtalif”

Sudan to me is what others told me

stories I put together like pieces of a jigsaw

A beautiful distorted mosaic

of my dad’s 70s Khartoum

with high-end journalism written in English for an audience I really can’t imagine.

Of my mother’s childhood memories of boarding school in Sinnar

and neighborhood girls’ small talk on their way to the Dokkan.

Of my sister’s recent undergraduate experience suffering from never-ending bureaucratic procedures of “jihaz almoghtarbeen”

And of course, of the media’s war-torn, famine-stricken, Shari’a-enforcing, terrorist-supporting Sudan

Sudan is expectations of disappointment

And touristy children of the Diaspora

Sudan is made of unconditional love and hate,

Sudan is love despite the hardship,

Sudan is smile to a stranger,

Sudan is help those in need

Sudan is invite by-passers for meals

Sudan is dark-skin, light-skin, brown-skin beauty

Sudan is same moula7 taste so different in different houses

Sudan is knowing everyone who lives within 50 km radius of your house

Sudan is social class and social clash

Sudan is a date fe shari’ alneel, and there is no such thing as third-wheeling

Sudan is love

And If you live in Sudan,

the Sudan of moghtarbeen might not be what you see,

But it is exists nonetheless

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