In the weeks preceding my departure, I had mixed feelings about leaving Sudan. My experience has been full of highs and lows, and though I have adjusted and managed to reach a certain level of functionality in this country, what I have been unable to get past is the vast difference from my native soil. Some days I have suffered extreme frustrations, other times have shown me how magical Africa can be. In my head I have sometimes scoffed at those khawajas professing to love Sudan, as the quality of life is obviously lower here and one cannot pretend that is it otherwise.
However, I have come to admire many aspects of Sudanese culture, in particular those relating to Islam. Having been brought up without religion, I feel it is too late for me to adopt any faith, but I do respect those who are striving to life a pure life, free from crime, alcohol and drugs. I also like the consideration given to those less fortunate and the concern about waste and food consumption.
I will certainly miss the weather, which has been for me something of an “endless summer”, as I have enjoyed the effect it has had on my mood and health. There may have been other contributing factors, but it was difficult to ever really feel negative here. And after the fiercely hot days we would come alive during the warm, starry nights.
In this short time I have also made some of whom I hope will become lifelong friends. I could not have hoped for a better send-off, which simply highlighted their generosity and genuine intentions. I love the energy, charming sense of humour and overwhelming kindness of my African friends. They do not try to hide their emotions and wear their hearts on their sleeves. In comparison, Europeans appear cold.
I am deeply saddened to think that we will be parted by such a great distance and that it will be impossible for some of them to visit me even if they wanted to, due to the difficulty of procuring a visa. For this reason, I must make it possible for me to return to Sudan at some point in the future.
So Sudan, this is goodbye! It’s been a pleasure and I hope to see you again, inshallah!
(Ya Habibi – my favourite Sudanese song)