Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Like a little child

Jesus said: "Let the children come to me. Don't stop them for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn't have their kind of faith, will never get into the Kingdom of God."  Luke 18:16-17

The Arabic word for faith is iman.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Khartoum Fruit and Vegetable Market

Khartoum vegetable market already bustling early in the morning 

Last week Grant and his technician, Marcel, took me to the large fruit and vegetable market on the outskirts of Khartoum. This is the wholesale market where the other smaller street  vendors buy their produce so you have to go early. We arrived there before 8am  and the place was already crowded. Men pushed wheelbarrows, guided donkeys and carts, drove pick-up vehicles and mini-busses through the market. Others had huge baskets hitched onto their shoulders, still others carried hessian sacks on their backs. Three-wheeled rickshas were loaded; all were taking their produce back to their businesses in the city.

The vegetable market sellers had their wares arranged on the ground. Vendors called out to you offering their produce while you tried to keep to a narrow path between the vegetables. You, in turn, stop to check and bargain, keeping off the track of vehicles and side-step slimy vegetable off-cuts lying all on the ground.

The prices were excellent. For instance: in the city when buying from street vendors, I pay SDG5/US$2 for a kilogram of potatoes. In the market the price was SDG2/US$.80c! Tomatoes (SDG15/US$6 per kilogram) were almost as expensive as they've become on the street, (SDG20/US$8) but I managed to bargain with seller and paid SDG12/US$4.80 eventually.

Certain fruit is imported from Egypt
The fruit is beautifully displayed on shelves and racks and not laid out on the ground like in the vegetable market

We moved onto the fruit section of the market. I always start with two dozen oranges, all I need for a week. On the city street, a dozen costs SDG6/US$2.40. Here, at the first two stalls the vendor informed me that he only sells by the box, which contains five dozen oranges. (too much for us) The next seller wanted to charge me SDG7/US$3.76 per dozen. Eventually I found oranges for SDG5.50/US$3.70 per dozen. Phew!
When I tried to buy two green and two red apples and an two pears, the seller laughed and told me to pick six fruit. He then gave them to me as a gift! Whoo-hoo!

All manner of transport crams the already crowded fruit and vegetable market
A really interesting and fruitful excursion (pardon the pun!)  . We came away with fruit and vegetables which would have cost one-and-a-half times as much on the street and more than double at the supermarkets.

The Arabic word for vegetables is ghadrawaad. The Arabic for fruit is fuwaki.

For more posts on other worlds, click here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Arabic as she is spoke...

in Khartoum!

At the beginning of June, I started my second month of Arabic lessons. You can read [here] why I decided to learn the local language. In my second month of classes, I progressed from vocabulary to making sentences. My tutor  now expected me to converse with her and to answer questions, which she poses in Arabic, - you guessed it - in Arabic!

Above is a photo of students strolling through the gardens of the Khartoum (Bahri) university. As you can see, I am not in that group of students. Why? Because I am not attending university to study this difficult, yet musical and interesting language! (lol!) I am learning Arabic from my tutor who teaches me the the language as it is spoken and - most importantly - understood here in the Sudan.

At the same time as starting my second month of lessons, I decided to post an Arabic word daily on my blog. The reason for doing this is three-fold: a) to share the word with my readers,  b) to imprint the word in my brain and c) to have fun! I am not doing it in order to look clever or to win a spelling Bee. When Sanna teaches me a word, I write it down in a full-scap book: phonetically. This way I remember the word and learn the correct pronunciation. I also remember words by using association. (Is there anyone else out there who does this?)

As some of my blogger friends in the Middle East have pointed out, words differ from country to country.  I am grateful when they tell me what the word means in their part of the world.  I also welcome it if Sudanese want to tell me if I have the word completely wrong.  I'm not at all sensitive or arrogant;  it's my desire to speak this language correctly. I will check each "difference" with my tutor and if I've been wrong, I will post the correct word.

So... I will continue to post my Arabic word for the day and apologize in advance to any scholars or learned Arabian readers who may think my words and/or spelling aren't correct.

The Arabic word for university is djama.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

World Cup Soccer Adverts

Shadow, our very own "meerkat"

If you've been watching the World Cup Soccer in South Africa, you will have seen the Pepsi adverts. The  cute suricates in the adverts are known as meerkats. When visiting my grandfather on the farm in the Free State, meerkats were a common sight i  the veld/fields.  They'd be sunning themselves, looking for food, the young ones playing rough-and-tumble while a lookout stood guard on a mound. At the approach of danger, they would all literally disappear into the earth! While touring the Kgalagardi Transfrontier Park a few years ago, Grant and I would stop the vehicle and watch the meerkat colonies near the road. The lookout stands on his hind legs, front paws (hands) held out,  an almost human stance.  

Since Shadow arrived, we've noticed that he is able to stand on his hind legs with his front paws held loosely in front of him. We've given him the nickname of, you guessed it,  meerkat! However, it's not the South African (English) name of this animal that we call him; and it's not the Arabic version, although I do know what meerkat is in Arabic. (lol!)  

It is meerkat in one of the eleven official languages of South Africa.

The isiZulu word for meerkat is uchakide.  

To say it, you pronounce the "u" as "oo", then you click your tongue on "ch"; the "a" sounds like "u" (as in "huh"); the last sylable to sound like "geet".

Easy huh? Try it!

Note: leave out the first "oo" which makes the clicking easier!

Ironically, "meerkat" is actually an Afrikaans word (yes, Afrikaans is another one of the eleven official languages in South Africa!) and directly translated means: "More Cat"

For more pet posts around the world, click here.

Khatourm Baby Budgie Udate

Today the first baby budgie is 37 days old. He emerged from the nest for the first time on Friday. Sweet Pea became hysterical and flapped around cage; she was obviously petrified of this strange creature who had suddenly appeared.  She is a real bird-brain! (lol) Rambo sat next to the baby budgie who thought this kind ole guy would feed him but who pecked him instead. Fortunately within an hour, the parents realised that this was one of the babies they'd produced and began to show him around his new world. He has all his feathers but his co-ordination is not too good yet. He falls about and pulls himself up the ladder using his beak. (would this be like a baby crawling?) The other two peeped out of the nest but are not at all keen on following their brave sibling yet.
The first baby budgie (front) out of the nest looks just like his mum, Sweet Pea (sitting on the nest)
Hello, are you my dad?

Note: another baby budgie has emerged leaving the last one in the nest. (see below)
The second baby budgie sitting on the cuttlefish, ventured into the cage this morning. Once more, Sweet Pea (now sitting on the nest) was hysterical because of this strange creature! Then the first budgie came out again; suddenly Sweet Pea liked the fact that two babies looked just like her. (lol!)  Rambo watches over his family from the side of the cage.

For more pet posts around the world, click here.

The Arabic word for feather is reesha

Saturday, June 26, 2010


The weather in Khartoum is still very hot 40°C/104°F and very uncomfortable as we live through our first North African summer. We've had three dust storms this week, the worst one during the night on Thursday. On Friday a dust pall hung over the city with gusts of wind whipping sand into your face if you were outdoors.

We have a water cooler in the flat without which we'd probably be a lot more uncomfortable! Both hubby and I drink copious cups of water to quench our thirst and to cool us down. however, water has many more benifits.

Affording a purified water company free advertising (above) I thought they'd not mind if I used the facts gleaned from their website.

Here are some important reasons to drink [spring] water: (Italics mine)

75% of people are regularly dehydrated -lack of water is the number one cause of daytime fatigue

37% believe they are experiencing hunger when they are actually thirsty - uh-oh, next time I make for the cookie jar, I'd better have a drink of water first...

Dehydration, even when mild (3%), slows the metabolism down

Mere 2% drop in your body’s water levels results in short term memory impairment, trouble with basic math and difficulty focusing (such as computer screen or printed page)

Children, who are more susceptible than adults to dehydration and need water to grow properly, may not be drinking enough and may be substituting unhealthy beverages and food to satisfy their thirst. Cornell Medical Center links such behavior to obesity and reduced height.

Exposing children to great tasting spring water reduces craving for sweets.

For exercise, dehydration affects performance, concentration and endurance, and can produce muscle cramps, overheating and other ailments.

Dehydration is the number 1 reason for hospitalizing people over 65 years old.

Water cannot be stored by the body and must be replenished regularly

Long term, excessive exposure to chlorine and fluoride, found in many municipal sources, has been linked to certain types of cancer and damage to teeth. Municipal water quality and safety is a source of increasing concern to the public.


The Arabic word for water is moya.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Health and Safety? Nah...

Obviously safety is not a prirority with this man

For more skies around the world, click here

The Arabic for sun is shemish

Thursday, June 24, 2010

World Cup Soccer Cat

Now that South Africa's team, Bafana Bafana are out of the running, Shadow sees no need to watch the World Cup Soccer

I see no soccer
Nope, nothing here...
I'm  bored, I think I'll catch a nap
Or, I'll just hang around in this bag

Congratulations to the UK and especially the USA for  qualifying for the next important round!

The Arabic for South Africa is Jenoop Afriria

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Greatest in the Kingdom

The little guy in the middle (my houselady, Emily's grandson) was being blindfolded because we had a surprise for him (you can read about this here)

When the disciples asked Jesus "Which of us is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?", Jesus called a small child over to Him and put the child among them. Then He said: "I assure you, unless you turn from your sins, and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on My behalf is welcoming Me." Matthew 18:1-5

The Arabic word for children is adfaalbidda.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Two-headed camel

Oooh, let me get this itch then you take my photo!

The Arabic word for head is ra'as.

For more other worlds, click here

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy One Month Grandson

Today our youngest fourth grandchild and third grandson is one month old. He should only have made his appearance on 17th June but this determined little lad had other ideas. You can read about his surprise birth here. He is thriving on love and mother's milk and we cannot wait to meet him when we go on leave to South Africa next month
Our gorgeous little granddaughter, almost fifteen months old, is still the apple of everybody's eye! You can see where she gets her beautiful eyes and smily mouth.

Oldest granddaughter and grandson pose for a photo to send to Gran and Granddad in Khartoum

The Arabic word for [my] family is oosrattee

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Precious Baby!

While working on my project which I mentioned in yesterday's post, I came across this beautiful photo of a mother donkey and her very young baby.  I took the photo on the road across the Makadikadi Salt Pans of Botswana. We were on a motorbike trip from South Africa,  through Namibia, into Botswana and back to South Africa.

For more beautiful scenes around the world, click here.

The Arabic word for donkey is himar.

Khartoum Baby Budgies

This week I found one of the baby budgies walking around the bottom of the cage! He'd obviously stepped over the edge of the small platform Grant had attached in front of the cage. I lifted him (he screamed blue murder, obviously  his mum had told him not to trust humans!) and managed to get him back into the nest. Grant has since made a platform from an old file which fits flush against the nest and in the corner. Hopefully the baby birds (all three doing very well inside the nest) will emerge soon and use the platform as a launching pad to fly into up and around the cage.

Sweet Pea hardly ever enters the nest nowadays; she feeds the babies at the opening instead. Rambo has also started feeding them (whoo hoo!) but is very shy - when I try to catch this on film, he flutters off and back onto his perch below.

The photo above is the best I can do at the moment. The budgies have lost the crusty casque on their heads and faces and their bills (beaks) are now visible. They all seem to have blue feathers. Dear old Sweet Pea, dominant woman!

For more on pets, click here.

The Arabic word for a bird's beak or bill is mungarr.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

True Christianity and my Apology

A car guard in a Bethlehem, Free State shopping centre parking lot, supports his soccer team. (Photo credit: Ida le Grange)

How often have you heard the expression: "He/she's a [wonderful/staunch] Christian; he/she doesn't smoke, drink, swear and attends church..." ?

Absolute nonsense.

Yes, it's true that once you're saved and following Jesus faithfully, you will eventually cast off all the things which hamper your relationship with your Saviour. However, Jesus gave us the Greatest Commandment: "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commanment. And the second is equally important: Love your neighbour as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39.  Fasten this commandment in your heart as you begin each day.  This is a daily work-in-progress and not as easy as it sounds, as I'm sure many of you will agree! 

So, while it's good to attend worship services regularly, to give to the poor and to care for the aged, it is equally important to look around you and "give of yourself" to those you encounter in your daily walk.  There are thousands of seemlingly priveledged people out there who crave a friendly word or gesture from you.

Here are a few suggestions to put into practice when you next step out into the world: at your workplace: the janitor who cleans the office floors, greet him and ask how he is - really stand still and listen to his reply;  at the school gate after you've dropped the children off: there's that young mother - not too warmly dressed for a cold winter's morning - who always walks her kids to school: offer to take her home. The till operator in the supermarket: check her name tag and greet her;  find out how she is today. There's the car guard in the parking lot: take time to greet him and reward him with a decent tip after you've finished shopping.

Here are a few more suggestions, (although you will find many more opportunities; merely be alert and and follow your heart) :

 a firm handshake to a shaky soul,

 a kind word to a lonely person,

a warm smile to the disheartened,  

a  sincere concern for someone troubled,

a feeling of compassion for the neglected,

a comforting thought for the bereaved,

a respect for the dignity of others,

 a defense of the rights of individuals,

a word of witness to help a seeking soul

I would also like to use this post to apologize to all the readers of this blog for not visiting or commenting on your blogs. I've also not replied as regularly as I'd like to your commnets on my blog. Arriving here in Khartoum nine weeks ago, I started on a project. (more about this later) I finally finished the project last weekend when another project landed in my lap. (more about this later too, I promise!) 

So thank you to all who have expressed the hope (yesterday) that we've have rain, (BTW, we haven't and I'm sure last night was the hottest we've had to date although the forecast announced the night temperature was a mere 31°C/ 88 °F. We also had another huge dust storm!)  I will get back into regular visiting and commenting as soon as I can. 

Bless you all! 

The Arabic word for apology/apologize is afwan.   

Friday, June 18, 2010


This time of the year,  the skies are sandy coloured and the weather is incredibly hot and dry. So when I wake to a blue sky with scattered clouds I wonder if this is the promise of rain?

For more skies around the world, click here

The Arabic words for sky is semaa

Thursday, June 17, 2010

World Cup upsets and vuvuzelas

Once again darling Ida from South Africa has sent me photos of the wonderful support the fans are showing our team back home. Above is a group of young men at the taxi rank in our home town. Oh, the nostalgia as I see the familiar streets and the shops in town displaying the South African flag. Of course there always has to be a vuvuzela!

As this post is aired this morning, the result of the South Africa and Uruguay will be known. We, sitting here in North Africa, have rooted for our team all the way.

Go Bafana Bafana !

Everybody is having great fun with the vuvuzelas

All photo credits: Ida le  Grange
 Congratulations to the Swiss who beat the World Cup favourites, Spain!

The Arabic word for congratulations is mabrook.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

World Cup Cat!

Today is exactly a month since Shadow came to live with us. It seems like much longer. I don't think this little cat remembers his former life at the dukani (spaza shop) across the road. He has completely taken over our home and our lives.

A few weeks ago I posted about the trip I made into Bahri, then back to Omdurman market and back across the bridge to Khartoum to find all Shadow's innoculations. You can read about this here. That week while Grant held Shadow, I administered his three-in-one injection into the neck. I had to wait two weeks before I administered the rabies vaccine. Because I'd found the kitten's skin surprisingly tough and struggled to pierce him that time, for a few days this week, using a spare syringe, I injected water into several oranges until I got "the feel of it". Then while Miriam was here,  I showed her how to  hold Shadow and explained that I would be injecting him. (And that he might bite her) She duly held him and as I pushed the needle into his leg muscle, he let out such a loud yell that Grant, who was watching the soccer, came running through to the dining room where we were. I just managed to inject the liquid into Shadow before he squirmed, tried to bite Miraim and ran off. He hid behind the sofa for ages not trusting Miriam or me one iota. We were definitely off his Christmas card list.
World Cup Soccer? What World Cup Soccer?
Whoo-hoo mum, nothing under the chair...

Oh that! Do you mean there are other things in the world except me?
Woopsie! Almost had my favourite toy there...

It feels as though we have a baby in the house. The lounge mat is always strewn with toys which we've collected mostly from household containers and other odds and ends. For instance the baking powder tin above is filled with rice grains and sealed with sellotape. Every night I place all the toys in a plastic bag and every morning Shadow pulls everything out of the bag!
Still looking mum!
The only two genuine toys are the balls and pink handles above. We bought two baby rattles at Afra Merkez (supermarket) and screwed the handles off. The balls are great fun for a little kitten to roll about the floor. The rest of the toys consist of Pepsi Cola bottle tops, ice-cream spoons, ear plugs, a shoelace, a piece of string, a tube of lip-ice, a rumpled post-it and other exciting objects.
Shadow recharging his batteries on his favourite chair in the dining room. This is directly in line with the airconditioning from the room beyond. Who said cats aren't clever?

Another favourite spot of his is on my  desk in front of my computer (between my wrists). This is how I type up my blog posts!  Can you believe this confindent little kitten spent the first ten weeks of his life in the street fending for himself?  

The Arabic word for inject (verb) is yataan. An injection is el googna.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Holding my breath!

A few weeks ago I managed a few photos of the wild camels in and around my husband's workshop on the edge of the desert. One by one, they all lay down and had a dust bath. The white camel in the above photograph had already rolled around in the sand when the next camels followed suit. Here it looks as though she's holding her breath until the dust subsides...

Note: Camels have dust baths as seen above to rid themselves of fleas and as a form of cleaning themselves. 

The Arabic word for dust is gubar

For more on other people's worlds, click here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Vuvuzelas for Christ

Children in Moemaneng Township outside Marquard,  enjoy soccer playing with a home-made soccer ball (What joy this lad exhibits)  Photo credit: Ida le Grange

The main purpose of mankind’s existence is to glorify God and to celebrate Him for all eternity.

Let’s be honest - we’re far more excited about a goal scored by Bafana Bafana in the World Cup than we are about the greatest story ever told – the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Our joy about God should go much deeper.  

How on earth am I going to convince anybody seeking God of the absolute joy of my faith if there’s no sign of it in my own life? Where would Isend this person to find someone who celebrates God constantly and without restraint if I show none of the joy in your own life?

Why is it so hard for us to celebrate God? Maybe because we feel it’s not proper; or perhaps we’re afraid of offending other. Or maybe we’ve lost just a little bit of our first love for Christ. 

Don't you know or believe the Good News?

God reconciled Himself to this world through his son Jesus Christ. This alone is reason enough make us celebrate our joy in God visibly and audibly wherever we go.

So let's go out there and blow our vuvuzelas, trumpets or whatever and make a holy noise for Christ!

Praise him with trumpets.
Praise him with harps and lyres.
Praise him with drums and dancing.
Praise him with harps and flutes.
Praise him with cymbals.
Praise him with loud cymbals.
Praise the Lord, all living creatures!
Praise the Lord! Ps. 150: 3-6

Source: Hennie Symington (Verse a Day)

The Arabic word for joy is gizaar.