Sudanese Proverbs (2)

1) ya’mil min al-Habba gubba (makes a dome out of a seed).

A similar proverb in English would be: to make a mountain out of a molehill. (this means that a person has turned a trifle matter into a major disaster!)

2) al-kheel tajaglib wash shukur li Hammaad (The horses run, prance and gallop about in the battle field but when victory is won, praise goes to Hammaad). Hammaad was one of Abdalla Jamaa’s sons and leader of the Abdallaab district.

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Sudanese Arabic Proverbs

Learning proverbs in a foreign language is a great way of expressing your sense of humour about certain situations without having to try and make jokes that might not really be appropriate.

While in England during the summer I heard an old proverb being used to describe the admiration that a mother had for her children: “all her geese are swans” Which means that in a mother’s eyes her children are the most beautiful and special children in the world. Of course all children should be lovely in their own mother’s eyes but there are occasions when some mothers lose their sense of reality!

This reminded me of a couple of very similar proverbs that we have in Sudanese Arabic. Continue reading

Review of Bradt Guide Book to the Sudan

Sudan: the Bradt Travel Guide by Sophie Ibbotson and Max Lovell-Hoare (3rd edition, pub. 2012)

This is an excellent book in so many ways. Firstly, it is beautifully written with the descriptions of places balanced by factual information and practical tips. I liked the short articles within the main text that provide at least a start for those wishing to understand more about Sudan, its history and its culture.
There is a short bibliography at the back that usefully includes a short summary of what each recommended publication is about. This guidebook is well designed, easy to follow and lavished with some wonderful coloured photographs. Continue reading

Recipe for fish baked with rice (Taajin Samak)

This is a tasty recipe that uses the bones of fish such ‘ijil, bayaD, garmuuT and kabaroos.

1) First, wash some of the fish and its bones (spine and part of the head) thoroughly in running water.

Place them in a bowl and marinate with the following ingredients (per kilo): 1 clove of crushed garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of kammuun (cumin), a pinch of kasbara (coriander), juice from one 1 large leemuun (lime), a pinch or two of filfil (black pepper) and a sprinkling of salt.

2) While the fish is marinating you can prepare the sauce. Continue reading

Kitchener’s last gunboat – Al Melik

Kitchener’s last gunboat lies half hidden under some trees on the banks of the Blue Nile in Khartoum. Silent and slowly decaying.

The Melik has served as the headquarters of the Blue Nile Sailing Club since its retirement from military service in the 1920s. It was moored in the river until an unusually heavy flood in the late 1980s left it high and dry. Ironically, the flood may have saved it from slowly rusting away. Continue reading

Recipe for Tahina Sauce

This Tahina sauce is easy to make and is excellent with all types of fish.

To make a small bowl of Tahina
Put 8 tablespoons of Tahina in a bowl and add a teaspoon of crushed garlic, a sprinkle of salt, some ground cumin and a little water. Then add the juice of 3 large lemons. Stir the mix and serve.

I would recommend the following brands of Tahina: Saad, al Taeif and Musharaf

Courier delivery -Sudanese style

My husband has reminded me of his own experience of the “camel post” from his time as a volunteer teacher in Dar Kababish in western Sudan:

“Whilst travelling by camel on a track between Hamrat Esh Sheikh and Umm Badr, I was surprised to see a police land cruiser speed past in front of me and then momentarily stop for a split instant to enable a policeman inside to toss out an envelope in my general direction. Continue reading