23 February 2018

My Ode to Azza

imageMy visit to Khartoum was a purely professional arrangement for a conference on the Nile Basin, that turned into the most personal and heartfelt encounter. I fell in love with a nation so rich in diversity, so humble in kindness, and so warm with its people. As an environmental engineer, engrossed in the science and hydrology of this river that navigated 11 countries including my own, I have for the first time truly understood the spiritual and divine power these waters have over me.

At the confluence of the Blue and White Niles in Khartoum comes the convergence of cultures, ethnicities, and a truly romantic encounter. The Blue Nile brings its brownish colored waters from the Ethiopian highlands rich in sediment, nutrients and forcefulness. These rough waters, as they materialize at the Gorge in Ethiopia, slowly begin to calm in nature as they head towards Sudan. The White Nile brings its clear and pristine waters from Uganda traveling across tropics and forests to reach Khartoum; where its union with the Blue Nile is a destined and fated marriage. This union is often referred to as the longest kiss in history; as the two waters remain unmixed for kilometers. It’s a breathtaking sight comprised of two distinctly different colored waters flowing together in harmony and peace. These waters bring with them the stories and identities of the people along the Nile, and the harmony of this mix is embedded in the simplicity of the Niles. The diversity of our cultures along the Nile is rich and vibrant, and as we search for a space to hold a common ground for peace and stability across the Basin countries, we have forgotten the very essence of what these Nile waters hold. The confluence in Khartoum, an ever so beautiful reminder of this harmony, is a blissful awakening to me and I hope many others.

Overlooking the White Nile, sitting in a forest of woodlands having breakfast on these river’s banks, while a tea lady brings us Tea and Falafel, I discuss with a friend the current political climate in Sudan. Sudan is transforming itself from within. An oppressed conservative society on the outside, it is brewing with change from within its various spheres. The conversations that ensued during my visit, whether they pertained to arts, culture, politics, or environment stimulated my thoughts.

Change is coming in Sudan. And it is coming very soon.

There is so much potential coming out of Sudan. I was fortunate to be able to attend a stand-up poetry event organized by Nas with Notepads in one of the local art centers. It felt as if I was given a magnifying glass to see right into the souls of Sudanese youth. Their hopes, their dreams, their desires for their country, and their urge and passion to make it a better place, sung out in words so eloquently beautiful and with wild eagerness to share. As an outsider, I couldn’t help but feel privileged to witness such unraveling of their souls to an audience so incredibly receptive for change. Starving for change. I feel as though they have entrusted their inner most secrets to me, and for that I am humbled.

To the beautiful Sudan, to Azza, coming from the root of “Izza” meaning might and power, may your soothing powers reign ever so dear over me and all who come to you. For I will cherish your ma’azza in my heart, always.

2 Comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

  • Sue Elhatow
    16 May 2013 at 11:44 am - Reply

    A fitting account of your trip to Sudan and beautifully written with such passion. A very informative article. Thank you Lama 🙂 XX

  • Sherene Metwally
    17 May 2013 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    What a brilliant piece- such a joy to read. Well done Lama, very proud of you!

  • Dictionary
    • dictionary
    • English Dictionary

    Double click on any word on the page or type a word:

    Powered by dictionarist.com