Sudan, Writing

Speaking about Sudan novel at Vancouver Public Library

By Alison Bate Hi! I'll be joining four other authors at the Vancouver Public Library this Sunday to talk about my upcoming debut novel. The novel's set in Sudan, where I taught English for a while, and tells the story of three very different women confronting their individual fears. Fatima, the second of three wives,… Continue reading Speaking about Sudan novel at Vancouver Public Library

Sudan, Travel

From Darfur to Salt Lake City

I had just boarded the ferry at Horseshoe Bay in Canada when my cellphone rang. The line crackled and it took a while to realize who it was. "Is that you, Mohammed*? "Yes! I am here! I am so happy – everyone is so kind." "Where are you?" I learned he was finally in Salt… Continue reading From Darfur to Salt Lake City

B.C., Sudan

Bitmakaly helps immigrant women

My Sudanese friend Lubna Abdelrahman is a very enterprising lady. In the last 18 months, she has set up an organisation to help immigrant women and their families and is also busy writing articles for and promoting the new Alqalam Arabic newspaper in the Vancouver area. Her new outfit, Bitmakaly Women’s Association, hosted a community… Continue reading Bitmakaly helps immigrant women

Portfolio, Sudan, Travel

Sufi dancers in Omdurman

  It seemed an indelicate way to arrive at a religious ceremony. We bumped in, out and around gravestones set in desert scrub, before pulling up in the minivan in front of a huge circle of men in white robes. The pounding beat got louder as we walked to the edges of the circle and… Continue reading Sufi dancers in Omdurman

Sudan, Travel

Sudan suffers separation pains

By Alison BateThe capital of Sudan feels a little lost and empty these days.The distinctive Dinkas - the impossibly tall, thin Southerners - and their fellow compatriots have mostly left Khartoum for their new homeland and the deadline for the rest to leave is just months away.After April 9, 2012, any southerners remaining will become… Continue reading Sudan suffers separation pains

pix of man in Kassala
Portfolio, Sudan, Travel

10 travel tips for Sudan

1. Take lots of US dollars in cash, in fact everything you'll need, as none of your western ATMs or credit cards will be accepted. 2. Change money on the black market, not in banks or official exchanges. As of Dec.1, 2011 you'll get about 4.2 Sudanese pounds to $1 US on the black market,… Continue reading 10 travel tips for Sudan

Sudan, Travel

Coffee and lamb fright in Kassala

By Alison Bate I went to look at the striking Taka Mountains yesterday, but as is the way in Sudan, never quite made it, sidetracked by friendly people at the street cafes. I'm in a cute little town called Kassala, a long, eight-hour bus ride east of Khartoum. The bare mountains rise up suddenly out… Continue reading Coffee and lamb fright in Kassala

Sudan, Travel

Khartoum at dawn

I ‘ve just arrived in Khartoum after a four-year gap, and this morning between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m., it was pretty magical. After a sleepless, jetlagged night, I went up to the rooftop of the Bougainvilla Guest House, where I’m staying. It was still dark, the moon and stars were out, and a cool… Continue reading Khartoum at dawn

Sudan, Travel

Selecting tech toys for my trip to Sudan

I can pack a backpack or suitcase for a trip in under an hour, but deciding what tech toys to take is another ballgame altogether. I spent a ridiculous amount of time researching cellphones and agonizing about whether to take my beloved Macbook with me. I’m meeting various friends in Khartoum, and everyone uses cellphones… Continue reading Selecting tech toys for my trip to Sudan


The ancient history of Sudanese perfumes

South African-based Sophia Shuttleworth has written a well-researched and fascinating article about Sudanese perfumes on her African Aromatics website. Sophia, who describes herself as a artisan perfumer, starts out this way: "On Sunday 9 July 2011, South Sudan seceded from Sudan and became the world’s youngest country. The conflict in Sudan has been well documented,… Continue reading The ancient history of Sudanese perfumes