Northern Sudanese nomads beat nature through innovation

Arab nomads in northern Sudan build homes to overcome nature


In a very tough and arid environment in Nahral Neel State in northern Sudan, the nomadic Arab tribes have managed to overcome the nature and build homes for protection against summer heat, winter cold and autumn storms.

homeFrom simple materials such as tree barks and trunks, animal wool, acacia wood and sometimes clay, the nomads build their homes of distinguished “nomad tents.”

The nomadic home usually comprises many internal units, the most important of which is Madeifah (the guest house). The guest house is built in a rectangular shape and is bigger in size than the other parts of the house. It is usually built far from the other tents in the house since it is meant for receiving guests.

The guest house is built of palm trunks and fronds. Its roof is covered with palm leaves, while its interior is decorated with mats made of palm leaflets that women varnish with beautiful colors.

Other smaller units in the nomadic home are the room, a small family tent, usually for the couples. The first thing that draws the attention inside the nomadic home is the Angareb, a traditional bed made of acacia wood and woven with leaflets of palm leaves. Angared is a traditional feature of the Sudanese culture and is widely spreading in north Sudan.

“Our life still maintains all its privacy and our houses still preserve their nomadic components that are consistent with the environment and the circumstances in which we live,” Zainab Ibrahim, a nomad woman from Al-Timait area near Shendi town in Nahral Neel state, told Xinhua.

“The nomadic house is built by local materials despite the development. We still live in Rawakeep (traditional nomadic shelters) as it is easy to move them from a place to another,” she noted.

In the meantime, the Arab nomads are still keeping their traditional household items, where al-Ghadah, a traditional wooden plate in which food is served, is still a feature of the nomadic house.

Other household items inside the nomadic house include Murhaka (stone grain grinder), Mishle’ib, a loop made of palm leaflets and used as food container as those houses lack electricity and thus there are no electric refrigerators.

The mat, which is made of palm leaflets, constitutes a major element in the nomadic houses where it is used for the guest to sit on, in wedding and circumcision ceremonies and in funeral processions.

The Nomads also use al-Zir, a clay-made water pot, to cool the water and sometimes to leaven the dough.
Ruqya Hamdan, a nomad woman from Shendi, told Xinhua that “these items are made of local materials and they are necessary as they help us overcome the circumstances in which we live.”

“These items symbolize the culture of the Arab nomads and reflect their ability to adapt to the environment where they live. From such simple materials we can make things that achieve our purposes,” she said. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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