Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Khartoum Neighbours

Mohamed poses in front of the sideboard he made me

In February I posted about going out to meet my neighbours across the road. You can read about this here.

The gentleman of the house, Mohamed, is a master carpenter. We'd seen him hard at work in his courtyard, making furniture. I needed a sideboard for my diningroom (none here before as there's never been a woman in this apartment, ha!) so I asked him to come over and meet my husband. He did and during the course of conversation, Grant asked him if he'd make the piece of furniture for us. I had downloaded a photo from the Internet which we gave to him. The two men discussed measurements and the price and soon Mohamed excused himself. He said he wanted to get to Souq Omdurman (the market) to look for good but reasonably priced wood.
This is the exact replica of a model I'd seen on an upmarket UK website
Within two days Mohamed phoned me and asked if he could deliver the sideboard. Two young men duly arrived and carried the furniture up the stairs to our apartment with Mohamed [obviously] warning them in Arabic not to bump it, etc. They placed sideboard where I indicated and I asked Mohamed to pose in front of it.

Now I have storage place for the serviettes, papertowels, table linen, cruet sets and the myriad items needed for a properly-set dinner table!

Grant has just invited Mohamed over again to discuss another carpentry project with him. We need two doors to seal off the stairs. (More about this when Mohamed has completed the job)

For more on other worlds, click here


  1. Wow Jo, that's a nice piece of furniture. And I'll bet it cost less than the one you saw online. Wonderful to have a carpenter neighbor. He sure put that together fast. Making friends and supporting your community at the same time. Now I'm curious about the next project.

  2. You have found a gem of a neighbour. Fast and handy!

  3. How terrific, Jo! A great piece of furniture and what a wonderful contact you've made! What a great neighbor! I, too, will look forward to hearing about the next project! Have lovely week! Enjoy1


  4. great job! he should be very proud.

  5. Good you have made friends with the locals. In many expat situation, they remains as expat having nothing to do with the locals.

  6. What an unusual world you live in and what a heartwarming story that was.

  7. Thanks Gaelyn;) The item I saw advertised on the UK website was priced at 350 British Pounds. We paid SDG150 / US$50 for this piece. Post on the next project in the pipeline.

    Hi VioletSky;) These neighbours are wonderful.

    You're so right, Sylvia. I get a lot of help and advice from Mohamed and his wife. They're really lovely people.

    Thanks Lily;) He takes great pride in his work.

    Thanks Julie!

    Hi Ann;) I popped over to your blog and left a message. We've been expats for 11 years and I always make it a point to get to know the people and their culture.

    Thanks Brenda;) My post tomorrow will explain how unusual the circumstances are for us here in the Sudan.

  8. What nice neighbors you have - very nice story.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Darryl and Ruth : )

  9. Hi Jo, you have got so much more satisfaction from designing your new furniture piece and supporting a local craftsdman also.

  10. Hi Darryl and Ruth;) Welcome to my blog! Thanks for your kind comment. I'll pop over to your blog soon.

    Hi Peggy;) it was much more satisfying. I've tried to support all the small businesses in the street: the laundry, the shop which sells goods like yoghurt and sewing needles, the spaza shop where we buy our fresh mango juice,the other shop below our balcony where we buy eggs and the bakery. All the while we get to meet people and chat to them (Which is what I LOVE) (((hugs))) Jo

  11. What a gorgeous piece of furniture, Jo.... You are lucky to have met him ---and hopefully, he can do alot of your carpentry work for you.

    Hope you are doing fine. We are home from West VA --and had a great time.

  12. It's lovely, Jo & super that you could support a local carpenter & provide him with some extra income. (How will you fit it in your luggage to take back home to S.A ?!) lol

  13. Jo, there is something about a carpenter....

    I know one from Galalee, He built me a house I haven't seen yet!!!!

  14. Hi Lynda;) thanks for popping in. LOL at taking home. I remember all the items I gave to my house help when I left Guinea in 2006. Her home was well furnished! (((Hugs)))

    Hi Mike;) absolutely - through that Carpenter's sacrifice on the cross, and if we accept it, we will see the home He has prepared for us in the Father's mansion. Bless you.

  15. What a nice piece of furniture. How wonderful to have such a talented and nice neighbor.
    Sunny :)

  16. He did a wonderful job! Did he only have an advert or a description to work from?

  17. Wow that was a fast work. It would take forever here to find someone to do it and then wait ages for it to be made. You have done well. Good neighbours are a gem.

  18. He did a great job ! impossible to ask such a work here it would cost you a fortune ! What I am surprised about is the fact that he agreed to a photo taken of him. In Morocco the people pretend that it takes their soul away and it is written in the Coran. I told them that Mohamed never saw a camera and that other muslims have nothing against it. Curiously if you pay a little the soul is not taken away anymore, lol !


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo