THE COUNTRY CALLED SUDAN (1)

[Original by Takahiko HASHIMOTO, Sudan Project (October 10, 2017); Translated by K. Adachi/A. Senkoff]

Hello to everyone who are supporting JVC. My name is Hashimoto and I’ve been working in Sudan since February 2017 for Sudan project. It is not the first time for me to appear on the JVC website. I was introduced in JVC Staff Interview last year. I hope to be able to report on daily life here in Sudan from my own perspective as much as possible.

The country that is very likely to leave you with a positive impression

From my experiences visiting several countries in the past, I have always had the impression that a country’s reputation is decided by the people living in that country. When I arrived at Germany, I asked a man about directions on the street. I was treated so badly that I could not speak to people for a while, although the impression changed after staying one and a half years. On the contrary in Jordan, people were gathering around me one after another even I didn’t ask.

Khartoum from the sky.

Sudan is a country that has left me a very positive first impression. This happened when I landed in the international airport in Khartoum for the first time. Shuttle busses transport passengers from airplanes to terminals. An elderly woman came to the bus, carrying heavy baggage with both hands, at the last moment after most people had got into the bus already. Then a couple of young Sudanese, who had got in the bus in prior, naturally got off the bus, took her baggage, and helped her to get in the bus. Then another person who was already sitting in the bus stood up from the seat and gave her the seat after she had gotten into the bus. They then began to talk to one another as if nothing had happened. This left me with a positive impression because I had made a misunderstanding that the people who helped this women were relatives of her. I came to understand that this is not a single incident what I encountered by chance. The main transportation in Sudan is the public bus but I rarely see elderly people or women standing in the bus. There were several times when people came out to help with pushing cars or starting engines when cars had suddenly stopped (I will later talk about the situation of transport in Sudan). When I did shopping, small amounts of change would be discarded and when change was not available, I was given gum instead as a replacement for the change. There were a lot of events made me feel that “kindness” was everywhere during the short-time period I was there, probably because it is an Islamic country. Of course it is same in every countries that not all people are kind. There are people who don’t answer when I ask the way or there are unfriendly shopkeepers. However the moments I felt uncomfortable were relatively few during this five months. I think if you come to Sudan you will very likely encounter this “kindness” which I had experienced. Sudan will definitely leave you with a great first impression.

[* Unfortunately, taking pictures in the town in Sudan is restricted and it is not easy to show local situation by pictures. I will report next time by showing my own sketches.]

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