“How do you find Sudan?” is the question I get most often here. Yesterday in Ryan’s 8am class at Al-Neelain University one of the questions was spot on, “What did you think or know about Sudan before arriving here, and what do you think about Sudan now?”

I wish I could say I was well-versed on Sudan. That I had a good understanding of the conflicts that have ravaged the country over the past decades and generated the image of Sudan as a dangerous and dangerous place, but unfortunately I didn’t. All I knew about was Darfur thanks to media coverage in the United States and a basic introduction to Sudan through a small chapter from Lonely Planet Africa.

So when I answered the student I was honest. I thought Khartoum would be unsafe, tensions would be high between Northerners and Southerners or between Muslims and Christians, and that the country overall wouldn’t be very safe place. What I found really shocked me. I can walk in the city at night, no fear that I will be robbed or attacked. I’ve never felt so safe in a city of millions like Khartoum. I am also constantly surprised by Sudanese hospitality, there really isn’t a comparison. I can’t count how many times my tea has been purchased, I’ve been given a ride by a stranger, or had someone walk me to the correct bus (as my arabic is non-existent at the moment).

I’m trying to add as many photos as possible with explanations, but the internet here makes it difficult to upload pics so I’ll put up as many as possible from my first week in Khartoum, Sudan.

The view from my flat in souq Arabe in downtown Khartoum.

Mornings and throughout the day we have chai, jebanah (coffee with ginger and mint and spices) and smoking sheesha from time to time. Bottom photo is of Octagon one of the few places that allow women to smoke hookahs . . . It isn’t allowed at places if they’re owned by Sudanese usually, just those establishments run by Egyptians or Ethiopians.

Breakfast at Mugeeb’s house, an SVP worker. Consisting of Tamiya (falafel), salad, ful (beans), bread, kaseik (a fish dish made with tomato, puree fish, and peanut butter with onions and oil), liver, and an okra dish (center) that I couldn’t even guess at the name.

A night spent after donuts (usually a breakfast food with the tea ladies) Heidi’s friend Mohammad took us to enjoy donuts in the evening.

A rickshaw ride to the Sufi dancers Friday evening worship . . .

People watch and participate with the Sufis. I can’t add as many photos as I’d like, but I’ll put in as much as possible. Women aren’t allowed to make up the circle or be in the center of it, so . . . . all my photos are from behind a couple rows of men.

I’m hoping to post more detailed posts later. Last night (Friday January 29th) we were invited to visit a Sufi compound on the outskirts of a city. I can’t wait to share more, as this will be my last week in Khartoum before heading to El Obeid to begin teaching. It took about twelve days to register myself in the country, get my residence permit, be tested for HIV (Sudanese gov’t requires you to be free of it before issuing a residence visa), and then a travel permit to El Obeid.


  1. Whoa. What a crazy place. Your photos are getting even better(how is that possible?) The light there feels different than the light in the boring old USofA. So beautiful. I’m glad you feel safe. I’m going to Lagos, Nigeria for school soon. We miss you in “SoFlo”.

  2. I love all your pictures. The smallest aspects of the day seem so much better in a new place. Please take as many as you can!

  3. It’s nice to get a visually appealing view of Sudan. At least the Sudan that is Khartoum. Sudan is Africa’s largest country and has many faces in various regions. I invite people to learn more about other regions like Southern Sudan, Darfur, Northern Sudan near the Egyptian border and eastern Sudan too. I offer Southern Sudan information in photos, videos and lots of blog entries.

    thanks for the beautiful photos. I look forward to viewing more.

    take care,


  4. Nice picture. I was very exited when i saw the photos. I hope you are safe. And about the hospitality, that is just ‘Sudanese’. I am a Sudanese residing in CA, USA. Thanks for uploading the photos and if you ever need my help, do not hesitate to shoot me an email.


  5. I somehow stumbled on this blog and I am so happy to be here. It’s just absolute beauty.
    Thank you for sharing your artistic and observant eye with all of us.

  6. wow. This is really amazing and such an eye opener. I really want to go do my graduate research in Africa focusing on Eastern Africa. I had never expected Sudan to be as safe as you have described. I hope to visit there one day soon. Thank you for your blog and pictures. They are absolutely spectacular. Keep it up

  7. The public so rarely is offered the chance to view Sudanese life as is. You’re doing a wonderful thing here. I look forward to seeing more of your work in your time with the PC there.

  8. Hey Deanna,
    I just randomly stumbled into your site and have been sitting here for about a 1/2 hour looking at your photographs. They are stunning! The coincidence is that I also went to ASU but graduated in 2008. I did take a photography class at ASU too. Anyway, glad to have checked out your pics, awesome job, keep it up!

  9. You are going a great job Deanna, your photos are awesome and really capture the moment. It does make me appreciate being here though. Keep up the great work!

  10. I was terribly happy to search out this site.I wanted to many thanks for this nice scan!! I positively enjoying every very little bit of it and I’ve got you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.

  11. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog and viewing the images. Hope you get time to write more detailed captions for each image in the future. Good luck with the project and I look forward to seeing more.

  12. thanks because you said honest thing about Sudan .. but you know almost western Media reflect bad things about Sudan .. and I wish all people there try get info about other from great Media (Honest ).. in the western countries Almost Media ,TV ,Radio Magazine ,news paper managing by professional Jews and able reflect their thoughts by this Media and I think almost people they believe this Mali media .. for example if you are form Iran that mean you are terrorist .. if you are from Somalia that mean you are terrorist and your logic is gun and war . but I want to say Sudan is greatest place and the people here will never meet people like them . Muslim and Christan they are same Northern and Southern are same .. but honest people only who saying that .. and you are one of them Denna. thanks because you say the true facts about Sudan ..

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