Departing Khartoum

The week flew by here, and I am already checked in and preparing to depart this ancient city.

There is a magic here–in the light, the dust, the fluid movement of sand and robes and breezes–that is seldom talked about where I come from. There isn’t a whole lot to do here, if one expects the kind of busy-ness we are accustomed to in many parts of the west. But I never tired of watching the sun rise and set here, because the colors that day fades in and out of are not colors I see elsewhere–they are softer, more muted, more gentle.

Today a friend, Sue, who worked with my husband 20 years ago in Uganda, took my colleague and I to the old souks–we visited the bead markets and the place where many old baskets and carvings are available under piles of more touristy-oriented knick knacks. Some of the beads are plastic and tacky, but if one practices the same patience that observing the sunrise and set offers, one can find some true treasures. We found old coral and clay beads, and baskets woven in Darfur 40 years ago. 40 years isn’t so, so old…but these are baskets from a time when Darfur was not threatened by the tragic war that it is today; when the weavers likely lived a peaceful, simple, nomadic existence. I bought one of the old baskets, grateful to have a little piece of evidence of the heart of Darfur. One of my dear friends from Santa Fe, Alicia, sent bundles of prayer flags for me to place in Darfur (we were originally to work there) and so they have traveled there with some of the participants from our training. When I introduced the prayer flags, and shared their tradition and intention, many of the trainees were surprised, and touched, to know that there are some in the USA who still tend to older traditions. Their impression had been otherwise.

We hope to return in February to work in Darfur. There is a lot going on in Sudan these days, so our ability to do that is uncertain. Inshallah.

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