Alongside “Where are you from?”, this is the question I have been asked the most by new acquaintances, often surprisingly early on in the friendship. Clearly, they are proud of their stock. I usually reply with a polite “maybe!”, though I’d be lying if I said my motivation for coming to Sudan was the search for a husband.
Perhaps the questions should be “Do you want to be a Sudanese wife?” Though it is not unheard of for foreigners to marry into Sudanese families, this is by no means the simplest bond to form. Even if one was to fall in love, marriage here involves a commitment to the husband’s whole family. Generally, the wife is expected to live with the husband’s family in their house and to spend every Friday and religious holiday with them.
Though there are of course attractive features of Sudanese men, particularly their physical appearance and open, generous and somewhat naive conduct, there are always going to be many strings attached. Perhaps I am stating the obvious but religion and culture, for instance. You may be expected to convert to Islam in order to marry. In this case, you would be adopting an entirely new belief system and way of living, while abandoning your own. Personally, I cannot comprehend how this would be possible.
Furthermore, the Sudanese husband’s role of working to provide for his family could be appealing to some women. Despite women’s emancipation and gender equality in the West, most women instinctively like the feeling of being protected and cared for by a man. However, the price to pay here would be to sit at home and become – in their words – a “fat and lazy” housewife. Men here rarely expect their wives to work, even if they have been to university.
Therefore, my answer to this question would be: probably not, unless he was extremely liberal!