Eulogy of a refugee for her father

I’ll remember those things.

My father was Spider-Man. It was amazing the way he was able to lift his body up and walk on the ceiling. It was possibly 1982 or ’83. There was a petrol shortage, which meant it was difficult for people to travel. And the country was governed by Sharia law and women and men were not allowed to mix. The first three rows on the bus were for women only and the rest was for the men.

When the bus came people ran towards it and had to fight to get in. It was difficult for people with children to get on. My mum and dad and some others would feed their children through the windows. My parents were worried they wouldn’t get on the bus. My mum was holding one of the little ones and she got in and dad was trying to follow. But he was at the front of the bus and there was no way he couldn’t brush past or touch a woman. The women were looking at him as if to say ‘You shouldn’t be here’. Some of them looked at him angrily. They could get their anger out on anybody. This was law and the women thought ‘This is OUR area’.

He managed to get a strong hold on the pole on the bus, pushed his body up and with a slight jump inched along the ceiling just like a spider. He walked until he was past the women and landed on the men’s side. My mum said this was followed by a lot of clapping and whistling but she felt very embarrassed and decided to pretend she didn’t know him.

My father was born on 1st January 1949 in Kadougli, South Kordofan. He studied in Bakhit al Rada where he was trained by a gymnast coach called Badreldin Abdel Rahim. My father was very fond of his teacher and he loved the sport. He played football for Alswar football club at Eldium.

Because of the benefit, he got from the sport, my dad was very supportive of my project with the children, Green Kordofan. He loved what I do with these children. I spoke more to him about what I did than with my mum. It used to make him happy to see the photos.

He was very fearful of politics. He was protective of me as a woman. He was supportive of all the humanitarian work I did but he would say ‘Be careful’. He never took anything for granted. He would help me to think about my work and would ask me to question and check everything to make sure we did no harm. He wanted to make sure that people wanted to do what we offered and didn’t feel forced into doing things. I’ll remember those things…

(01-01-1949 – 18-10-2018 )