“Oh, come on! Why do people have to stare at me everywhere we go?!”
I wondered this several times on our second visit to Sudan.
Abaya? ✔️ In black!
Scarf? ✔️ And an undercap!
In addition to the inevitably obvious fact that I was the only white woman within a radius of 100 m, Tamer reminded me of another thing:
“You’re wearing sunglasses.” Because I had no idea where he was going with this, he continued: “Nobody wears sunglasses here. And you’re basically screaming for attention with your pair, like you’re some sort of a rock star.”
“But I can’t see without them! The sun is totally blinding me,” I was in shock, trying to explain to my husband, who already knew all this very well and could only laugh at my embarrassment.
“Sudanese don’t know that. Sunglasses are only worn here for the show,” he replied with a smile.
And so, over the next few days, I watched passersby on the road more closely. Riding a minibus I observed the next scene which is only imprinted in my memory, since I was unable to take a picture of it.
A young Sudanese woman in a black abaya and a bright red scarf stood on the edge of the sidewalk, where a young man with a motorbike came to a stop. She sat behind him, in a lady-like manner, riding the bike sideway in her long skirt. She clung to him around his waist and as they started to ride into traffic, it seemed like something out of the movies, when the edge of her red scarf fluttered behind them. The motorcyclist wore sunglasses, although the late afternoon sun was already losing its light. The smiles of both riders shone brighter.