Hibiscus with Ginger

Welcome to Hibiscus with Ginger!

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Welcome! Here at HwG, we hope to offer analysis of Sudan and East Africa more broadly as well as highlight interesting cultural and social trends in the region. Also, things we think are entertaining, since a blog that’s too serious is no fun to write.

Safira and I both lived in Sudan for some time, and when we decided to leave on great educational adventures, we were looking for a way to maintain our focus on the region. We were both also struck by how little neutral analysis seems to exist out there on Sudan and Sudanese issues—it often feels as if most of what we find is either rather superficial or infused with a large dose of moral condemnation.

While there’s certainly a lot going on in Sudan that merits condemnation, moral judgments don’t really help us understand what’s going on well. They also don’t paint a representative portrait of the country. Sudan’s problems are significant, but so are the country’s songs and paintings. Sitting with a sitta shay, a tea lady, discussing daily events is just as much a part of Sudan as its politics, and you don’t see that aspect in another news report about violence in Darfur. We hope that this blog can cover the problems, the historical context, and the cultural aspects in order to show both how lovely and exasperating a country it can be.

The blog is definitely still under construction—expect a list of links in the upcoming week to different sources for news and analysis on Sudan as well as cool initiatives, art projects, and publications run by Sudanese groups. Over time, we intend to expand our coverage to other parts of East Africa as well. We’re open to feedback. If there’s something you think we can do better, please comment or email us. If there’s something you’d like featured, let us know-or better yet, email us, and submit something yourself. You can reach us at hibiscuswithginger@gmail.com

We’re going by pseudonyms here in order to keep our access to Sudan. As khawajiyat, Westerners, our access to the country is limited by our ability to gain entry visas. While the blog seeks to focus on the cultural and some news analysis, we’re sensitive to the fact that anything we write can be used as a reason to deny us entry to Sudan. By keeping our names off of here, we hope to have a bit more freedom to talk about what interests us.

More soon. In the meantime, enjoy this great time lapsed video of a day in a tea lady’s life.

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