The Garden between the Niles

An extract from an interview with my inspirational grandmother, Juju.  An incredibly strong and elegant lady!

I came to the Sudan when I was fourteen or fifteen, after my father died.  The heat was very strong - but, it was ok because was my sister was there and my brother was there also.  In Sudan we had a lovely life.  My mother’s house was like a little bungalow.  It had three bedrooms and a veranda - a big big veranda and it has hosh, a little garden with trees.  In the houses in the olden days, the kitchen used to be in the garden.  The kitchen room was outside and the bedrooms and the dining rooms inside, and the veranda is between them.  When I met Eliaho, my husband, we used to go for walks, we went to the cinema and somebody came with us, my brother or my nephew - they were young, about nine or ten years and so they come to join us.  

Even after we get married we used to go to the cinema all the time.  Nearly every night they had a different film.  I enjoyed it…but not much. I went for his sake.  He likes the cinema, he loves cinema! So I go for him. 

Juju in her garden in Sudan, aged 20-25.

Juju in her garden in Sudan, aged 20-25.

We used to do trips after we were married, with the children.  When it’s sunny in Sudan we keep inside, but in the rainy season when the sun is gone we took the children, and we went to a place called al-Mogran. It’s a garden between the Blue Nile and the White Nile.  It’s so lovely.  I also used to take my children to the zoo, it is in Khartoum.  There was a tram between Omdurman where we are living and Khartoum. We used to go by tram, but then they stopped it and so we went by taxi after that.  It was about five or six kilometres only, but you have to cross the Nile by bridge.

And there is one day in the Spring.  At the start of April I think that is called Sham El Nessim.  Its a public holiday and on that day we make sandwiches - cheese, egg.  Cheese is always feta - we take it all packed and we go with all the children or if people had they take their grandchildren.  We took some tables, and folding chairs and we put our food out and we ate under the tree. And the men they take the towla...backgammon...and they play it. It was a lovely, simple life. We were contented there, you know?