Monday, April 3, 2006

Home at Last.

I came home last Thuesday night I think. I sat down in the airport in Khartoum and started to freeze like madness. An hour or so later came the fever. The whole way home I was in fit of shivering and was hallucinating. One of my bags got lost somewhere in Frankfurt and I missed the train home to Göteborg from Arlanda. Pissed off and madly tired I finally got home, passed out in the sofa and then stayed there for three days or so. I feel better now and it's nice to be home.

Khalid got home a couple of weeks ago, with a beard, moustach all over his face and he looked more like a rebel than the rebels themselves. I met him in the airport in Khartoum and couldn't let him go until some 24 hours later. Luckily - or unluckily enough, the whole family saw the ring I had on my finger (a gift from Khalid before he left for Darfur and I was meant to go back to Sweden before his return) and thought that we had gotten engaged after all. So, the "welcome-home-party" for Khalid also became something different. All the female family and relatives met me with "OIOIOIOIOIOIOIOIOI!", you know that shriek in falsett that you hear in the arab world when something is celebrated. So, in Sudan I'm engaged after all.

For those of you who missed it, the second interview I had through Transit is still in P3's webpage. Listen how "Transit's correspondant Maria Andersson calls from Sudan and with terror in her voice explains how her boyfriend got kidnapped in Darfur". Very entertaining.

So, I'm staying with my dad at the moment and will move to Borås after a while. Depends if I can get an ok job there. And if I'm lucky, my Khalid will come in a few months!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Kidnapping Drama

Yes, I'm still in Sudan and the last two weeks has been chaotic, and that's an understatement. My broyfriend has been kidnapped by rebels in El Fasher, Darfur, and no one knows why or when he'll be released. The matter has gone to the higher authorities in the UN and negotiations are going on from all corners of the country (and outside too). They promised that he would be released last Saturday or Sunday, and when Sunday arrived they said tomorrow, and today (Monday) they sayd tomorrow or the day after. I guess it's good news that he's with the rebels. That at least means that he's alive and haven't died from thirst in the desert, but stil... I've been a complete wreck, but it feels a little bit better now.

I live with Jaouad and Steven still. I have tried to keep myself busy with different activities with friends, but it's hard to think about anything else other than the kidnapping. If something like this had happened in Sweden this would be all over the news, but here, I've only read a few notices.

I won't be writing anything long today. I just wanted to thank everyone that has called and written to me, it has meant so much for me. When Khalid comes back I will live with him and his dfamily for a few days before I leave for Sweden. I got my passport back, but the visa is still not valid. Hopefully it will be enough to get me out of the country, but who knows... So far things haven't gone as planned, so I don't take anything for granted until I step off the plane in Arlanda.

See you soon, I hope. Thanks again to everyone who has called or kept in touch in other ways.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Change of Plans, again.

My boyfriend, Khalid, has gone missing and I'm not coming home until I know more. I'm a wreck.

Just wanted to say that. Keep your fingers crossed that they'll find him alive.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006


I've gotten many complaints that I haven't written for a while, so now I've finally gotten the thumb out and to an internet café to report of the latest events in Maria's strange life.

First of all, I'll have to make a correction. I do no stay in the country legally. My passport seems to be missing among authorities, along with the 150 USD I had to bribe the guy with today. Today I spoke to Tarek who is Khalid's uncle and also a police officer. He said he would do his best to fix this little situation. I just hope that I won't have to bribe even more people, and that it won't be too long until I can be on a plane back to Sweden. I sat in the car and cried last night since I still hadn't gotten my passport and visa but became in a better mood after having seen "Team America" Absolutely hilarious! Watch it!

Well, and then we were meant to get engaged tomorrow. For real. Me and Khalid discussed this a month or so ago and decided to get engaged if I get to stay in the country. The reason is that you can't live as boy- and girlfriend here without being engaged, so the conclusion was to get engaged if I was to stay and we still wanted to see each other. But, so I came to that point when I decided that my time in Sudan is over and I postponed the engagement in the last minut, which is somewhat of a catastrophy since an engagement means a big party with all family and relatives present. We had booked a DJ and a boat on the Nile for the ceremony, chosen rings and everything. Khalid of course was devestated, but he calmed down after I explained that I can't get engaged without knowing if he can get a stay permit in Sweden and things like that. He understood.

A month ago I went with Khalid and his uncle a down sount of Khartoum to camp in the desert by the Nile. It was so coxy, except that we woke up in a minor sandstorm, aka haboob, and had to pack the tent together and everything elswe with sand and dust stuck in your mouth, eyes, hair and you name it. After that there has been a few mini-haboobs in Khartoum. It is interesting to experience, once, but when the storm has calmed down there are dust and sand everywhere. Literally everywhere! My bags were filled with dust, the clothes never get clean, every page of every book that I have are covered with dust.

As most people know there has been some what of a turbulance in many Muslim countries after the Danish's rowdyism. I'm not going to give my opinion about the whole thing, but thought that you might wanted to know that it's been somewhat calm here. A few demonstrations, Danes got evactuated from Darfur and about a week ago the police started shooting (although I can't confirm that has to do with the hole Danish thing). The embassy called to "warn" me, asked me not to brag about being Swedish and so on.

I left Haidar's apartment (where I've been living ever since I moved out from La Familia) to live with Jaouad from Morocco and Steven from Kenya. The apartment is in Jareef West, which is in the outskirts of the city. I'm having a great time and is happy about my new friends. The other day I had a small fare well party for my closest ones. I was a bit surprised that the police didn't find their way to the party. A few days earlier I was locked in to Greek Club (where they had a party) with armed plicemen. They didn't want to let me out because they thought that the S on my driving licence meant that I was SUDANESE! Haha! I was saved by an indian that told them that I was with him.

Otherwise, not much has happened. I've been to an engagement party, cruised the Nile and went shopping with my "sister in law", Doa'a. There has been a few big demonstrations against the UN around the city. Many people believe that UN IS USA for some reason and they want them out of the country, especially from Farfur. But the demonstrations have been calm and there haven't been any major problems.

I'm hoping that this will be my last week in Sudan for a while. As soon as I get my passport (or be forced to report is missing and get a temperary one from the embassy), I will book my flight ticket and get my ass back home to Sweden. So this week is fully booked with parties, dinners and other stuff. Tonight there's a big party at the German Club, tomorrow I'm going on a fare well dinner, on Thursday we'll have a small party in Geziira Island, in the middle of the Nile. We will go by motor boat there and all alone on the island we will dance in the mini dessert and under the stars. On Friday I have promised to come and stay with Khalid and his family for a couple of days before I go home.

I'll be home soon. I miss you all and it will be heaven to breath fresh air, drink tap water and have a cold beer on a Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


My contract at the DCA is finished so now I'm unemployed again, but at least and at last I managed to bribe the right authority guy so now I'm legally in the country again.

A couple of days after the great New Year's party I was alone in the house while the rest were out on different missions in the field. And while I was asleep, somebody broke into the house and stole money and jewelries from the room next door (Björn and Alessandra's room). What made it even more complicated is that the thief "broke in" using a key and since me and the cleaning lady were the only ones in Khartoum with keys to the house, the cleaning lady was picked up by the police. She's a refugee from Eritrea and has no work permit, so even if she wasn't the one doing it, she's in no good situation right now. But she's not the only one in a bad situation (even though mine can't even remotely be compared to hers). Now one of the house hold members, my friend, think that I had something to do with it and don't trust me at all. She says I'm immature and bla bla bla, so now I decided to leave the house. I guess that's what can happen when you think you have a friend. What's more, because of all this, I think I lost my good friend Björn too. I will cincerely miss him.

The positive thing is that Björn came back from Sweden with two bags of goodies for me. Dad had bought me some veggie stuff, salty licorice and the whole family had written a little something for me in a notebook on christmas eve. Oskar drew me a picture, Sara wrote an adorable ketter and mum had printed some photos (and thanks for the condoms with tuti fruti flavour... do people actually use those??).

And guess what! On the 12th of January I got a(nother) baby brother. Good job mum! I vote for Anton.

A couple of days into the new year I gathered some friends and went cruising on the Nile and it was totally amazing! We went past small villages with mud cottages and children playing in the water. We ankered by a small green island where we had picnic and I had my very first swim in the mighty Nile. On our way bak we saw the famous African sun set behind Khartoum city skyline and you know what, it was beautiful! The only time during night or day that you can say that this city is beautiful is just then, when the birds lift and the sky turns orange.

I've never not liked it in Khartoum, but now I'm actually starting to like the city for real. I realized that as soon as you learn how to live like a local, you will start to like it so much better. That means to forget what stress and pressure is, not think of luxuries as having something to do at night instead of sitting and drinking sweet tea with mint and smoking sheesha.

Yesterday I went with a collegue to his aunt where half of his family and relatives were gathering. I've picked up enough arabic to understand that they thought of me and my collegue as engaged, that I had passed the test into the family by the aunt herself and that I was very beautiful. And not just that, the collegue also expressed to me that he actually did want to marry me. So for the first time in my life I've been proposed to. That was fun. But don't worry, I'm not planning to accept (unless they can offer me a HUGE bridal gift ; )

Nickname of the week: Meme, by Khalid

Song stuck in my head:
Habibiiii, habibiiii, habibi ya nour el ayeeeeen! Very annoying.

The most common things people call me in the street
: 1) khawajia (vit kvinna), 2) shadida (fin/vacker), 3)helooooo, 4) How arrrrr yooooooo?, 5) aj lavvv joooooo!, 6) what's your nationality?

A little sad because:
Things never turn out the way you planned.

A little happy because:
Things never turn out the way you planned.

Latest cliché
: "Your face is like a moon", apparently meaning something great here. Like, you have a round face, and round faces in Sudan is good. And big butts.