25 September 2017

My grandmother’s coffee rituals (Part 2)

Jabana (Photo by Ali Saad Ali)

Jabana (Photo by Ali Saad Ali)

Osman continues to describe his grandmother’s coffee-making rituals, and the tales she used to tell during the process.

I remember, not only the elaborate and long rituals of my late grandmother’s coffee-making when I visited the village, but, also, her stories and poems as the guests waited to enjoy the coffee.

Knowing that some of the guests were returning to the village from Khartoum or from overseas and the others were villagers, she, in her own poems, compared the two groups. Masterfully, she presented the comparison in the words of two wives: one whose husband is a farmer in the village and the other’s husband migrated to the city.
First, the farmer’s wife: “Akhair alqam safar kas alriyalat, wala akhair alqa’ad fi alblad sawalo shatlat?” (Who is better; the one who left chasing Riyals, or the one who is growing palm trees in the village?). The farmer’s wife continued, proudly siding with her husband. “He stays in the village and practices its traditions,  attends funerals, takes ‘gadah albaleela’ (wooden bowl of beans) to the mourners, attends weddings, and dances in front of girls.”
Now, it was the turn of the immigrant’s wife: “Albisooq alsaqiya mitil al fi alzanzana” (the one who drives a water-lifting wheel is like someone in a jail cell).” She continued: “his wife’s possessions are all with borrowed money. I prefer the one who leaves the village in ‘Karbakan’ (a Nile River steamship). Who works in Tokar (in Kasala State). Who enjoys life there and who brings to his wife in the village the best of clothes.”
Back to the farmer’s wife: “Ma bakhod almosobin yajiri tafir” (I will not marry the one who is well cleaned, with soap, but lives in a faraway place).
She continued: “I prefer my husband who works hard in the village. Your husband leaves you in the village with your mother rather than takes you with him. He might bring you two ounces of gold. But, a thief might steal them, and your life becomes like that of an infidel in Hell.”
Back to the immigrant’s wife: “Albisoog alsagiya moo zain” (Life in not good for the one who runs a water-lifting wheel.” She continued: “He works half-naked, burdened by debts from the village merchant. He does not even have enough money to marry.”
The last words belonged to the farmer’s wife: “Ma bakhod almosobin lay Karimi” (I will not marry the one who is well-cleaned, with soap. I will not go with him to Karima (in Northern State). She continued: “I prefer the one who takes off his shirt and works hard in the farm, in the mud and the dirt. Who prepares his ox and ‘muhrath’ (plough). Who attends his ‘shatle’ (young palms trees). Who does not marry a second wife.”
The farmer’s wife finished by praising herself: “This farmer’s wife never quarrels with her husband. Never goes to the police station in Sanab (Merowe city) to complain against him. But, if he mistreats her, she will file for a divorce.” As the guests reveled in the poem, they divided their support between this wife or the other. My grandmother, needless to say, sided with the farmer’s wife.

(Will continue)

3 Comments on this post.

Leave a Reply to Haytham Abdoon Cancel reply

  • Ali Saad Ali
    13 November 2012 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    ThanQ for the nice article and im happy to see my photo on it
    Waiting for the second part

  • محمد علي
    6 December 2012 at 2:00 pm - Reply

    اين احاجى الحبوبة يا ود الحبوبات

  • Haytham Abdoon
    18 December 2012 at 10:39 am - Reply

    Thank you Osman good speech. To learn the cultures go generation

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