They’re a busy family, but they’re a very friendly family… That’s right, he is on two mobile phones at the same time:
Have you noticed a Sudanese investment theme yet?
It isn’t just this family either. Everyone we met that had a mobile phone was constantly chirping away on it. Our driver, Ramadan, told us that Sudatel is the mobile phone network in Sudan.
Ramadan continued by informing us that telecommunications businesses are the biggest companies in Sudan. Construction is handled by local contractors and from what I saw Volvo and Caterpillar seem to dominate the large construction equipment sector. Only 600 – 700,000 barrels of oil a day is produced in Sudan and so oil companies are not that large.
The Khartoum Refinery Co. is controlled by Malaysia and China and is staffed by workers from those two countries. Hundreds of fuel trucks wait outside the gates to truck oil into Ethiopia since Ethiopia no longer has a coastline.
A pipeline also runs from the refinery in Khartoum to Port Sudan which is 1200 kilometers away. The pipeline was constructed by an Indian and Chinese consortium and consists of three lines for oil and one for natural gas.
Ahhhh, getting off the topic at hand there… Back to the family:
I have no idea who these guys were. They were around all the time and didn’t do any work, but they weren’t related to the Nubian family:
This is the exterior of the home:
And this was the interior:
For dinner on the day we arrived, the family brought an elaborate setup of trays, dishes and silverware into our room for just the two of us. Eleonora scored serious points with the family though by insisting that none of this was necessary and that we would be happy to eat with them. They were stunned, but delighted that we were joining them and eating in the traditional Sudanese fashion. Our driver told us that no Westerners he had taken to visit before had ever eaten with the family:
Eleonora and I liked to walk around the small town in the evenings and when we did, this boy would always accompany us. Neither of us spoke a word of the other’s language, but he always made sure we saw interesting things and brought us to interesting people. And if there was food around, he would always grab some for us:
On one evening this intense game of soccer in the sand was taking place:
We were more interested in the friendly donkey though: