23 February 2018

A year among farmers (Part 6)

AT THE END: As I fight the city traffic, crowds and noise everyday, I am reminded of Mujarrab’s quiet life (Photo: Artuter – traidnt.net)

After studying medicine at Shendi University and finishing my primary postgraduate training year in Khartoum, I picked Dongola city for my National Service obligations. I spent the weekends in Mujarrab, not only to relax, but also to work in the rural health center there. I tried my best to fully experience daily life in that rural community. As a city slicker, I found farmer life different, but interesting.

Throughout the year, I was impressed by the farmers’ close attachment to their farms. It wasn’t the same as an office job; it was difficult to separate their work from their private lives. I was also surprised that the farmers used the Pharaohic-Coptic calendar to timing agriculture activities.

In between my job hours, I enjoyed not only watching the farmers, but also sitting down with some of them – mostly the elderly – and listening to their stories. I will never forget sitting under Neem and Labakh trees, enjoying the breeze and drinking cold water form zeer (huge clay water pot). At sunset, after the farmers returned from their farms and the temperature has cooled down, the gatherings were mostly in the village’s small-sized mosque  or miseed, the streets, or sometimes under bright moonlight in the village’s sandy open spaces. On most Thursday nights, the sounds of zikir were the most memorable; they can be heard late into the night coming from the large historical khalwa (Quranic school) in the neighboring village, where boys praying and reciting the Quran.

It is safe to say that farm life is different from city life, but I found that despite this, modernity has reached the farms – and at a price. In the past, farmers didn’t need to worry about city problems like traffic, noise, pollution and crime. But now  they have to worry about electricity, water, and phone bills.

Bartering has been replaced by the monetary system, and now they have to worry about loans, monthly installments, interest rates and the exploitation of capitalism.

As I fight the city traffic, crowds and noise everyday, I am reminded of Mujarrab’s quiet life. The life of farmers is not solely connected to the farms, but also to the people, to the past, and to the present.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • Dr marwan
    11 December 2012 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    My friends ; this is the last part of this series ; i hope to meet you in a next work ; Regards.

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