Monday, July 12, 2010

On Life

“I thought about life, about my life, the embarrassments, the little coincidences, the shadows of alarm clocks on bedside tables, I thought about my small victories and everything I’d seen destroyed. I’d swum through mink coats on my parents’ bed while they hosted downstairs, I’d lost the only person with whom I could have spent my only life, I’d left behind a thousand tonnes of marble from which I could have released sculptures, I could have released myself from the marble of myself, I’d experienced joy, but not nearly enough, could there be enough? The end of suffering does not justify the suffering…”
— Jonathan Safran Foer

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kataha (sand-storm)


I was slapped across the face yesterday. The ever so surprising “kataha” or sandstorm slapped me as harshly as a wife-beater. I ran from my cousin’s car to my house hoping to get there before it hits me. It out-smarted me and as I was trying to open the door, it hit me with full-force.

I stood there, dumb-founded, wondering why this country is so evil. The next day as I was heading to work, it was so humid; I started thinking about shaving my hair.

Sudan’s weather is cruel, it’s like a mean high school bully ( you are beaten, humiliated and you go home hungry after you were forced to surrender your lunch)

Why am I ranting about the weather?

I just wanted to point out that this kind of weather stifles creativity. It suffocates your mind and your heart and pushes you towards stagnation.

Flavoured Lattes

As I venture into the real world, I continue to struggle to make sense of my surroundings. I’ve graduated almost a year ago, but I still feel lost.

University was my comfort-zone. My friends were like me; we had the same interests and hailed from the same background. I went to the prestigious American University in Cairo where everything and everyone was a walking advertisement of Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Porsches were parked in front of the main gate and we had flavored lattes on campus. My favorite flavor was “Irish Cream” and my second favorite was vanilla. Yes, I used to drink flavored latte and discuss Isabel Allende. I have to admit, I was a bit of a cliché. The spoiled kid, a pseudo-intellectual, excited about the prospects of getting a job, but too worried about managing her own finances.

On Thursday, I stayed on campus after my classes. Our auditorium was turned into a cinema hall and we had the chance to watch all the new movies from Hollywood for free.


You just had to show them your ID.

Armed with a number of witty comments, we would head to a café and discuss the movie over lattes.

Sometimes, our conversations shifted and we talked about the real world. In a few years, we would be graduates, getting our MA’s and getting real jobs. We talked about graduation; we claimed to be ready to graduate.

I graduated and it hit me.

University didn’t prepare me for the real world. I’m still shocked, dumb-founded. I still can’t wrap my head around the idea. Getting a job seems like a mystery.

Once upon a time, in the comfort of AUC, we were told we were special. Our parents paid large amounts of money for us to receive quality education. We speak good English and we have a number of extra-curricular activities to brag about. When we graduate, we will get a job in the blink of an eye. Oh how I miss university! The feeling of being unique, well-educated and privileged. The feeling that nothing is out of our reach. You just have to take a deep breath and reach for it.

As I sit at my desk in Khartoum two. I reminisce about flavored lattes and an overpriced twix tart. I can smell onions as I climb the stairs to my office ( Sudanese people ate the heaviest breakfast in the world at 1 pm) and I start thinking to myself: maybe this is how the real world smells, different, but at times, challenging.