Hatim Mohamed Elfatih was a Kung Fu champion in Khartoum. He was also a certified coach. His father decided to send Hatim and his three brothers to India for studies. After settling down with his studies in New Delhi for a Bachelor’s degree of Computer Applications (BCA), he could not stay away from Martial Arts for too long. He found out about a Korean coach for Taekwondo and started practicing the new variant of martial art. Within six months his skill was noticed by his master and he was selected to participate in the Chuncheon Open International Taekwondo Championship in Korea. As expected by his coach, he won the first place in the Yellow Belt category. Interestingly, he was considered as a participant from India. When this writer asked Hatim how it felt to represent India being a Sudanese, he replied that he was very happy and proud to represent India. He thanks India for having been given the opportunity to participate in an International Martial Arts Competition. This is a real illustration of Sports Beyond Boundaries.
This was not her first visit to Sudan. Amina Nurhussein has made many trips to Khartoum as Minister of Health of Eritrea. She spoke of the ‘unquestioned’ close and friendly relations between the two neighbouring countries – Sudan and Eritrea. Her visit this time to Khartoum was to further strengthen the bilateral relations particularly in the health sector. She met her counterparts in Khartoum. She said that opening the doors for pharmaceuticals from Sudan to Eritrea would be mutually beneficial. Presently there is only one pharmaceutical manufacturer in Eritrea, a joint venture with Jordan, which provides only 30% of their domestic needs. The balance is imported. She is seen in this picture with Dr.Tarig Mohy Eldin Algemiabi Chairman & CEO of a leading pharmaceutical company in Sudan.
Whenever an unknown Sudanese youth smiles at me in the streets of Khartoum and greets me in Hindi language, I know for sure that he has studied in India. More than 30,000 Sudanese have studied in India. At this given point of time there are around 4000 students from Sudan studying in India.
India’s higher education is the third largest in the world next to China and United States. The system is enriched through 350 plus Universities and 17,000 colleges supported by specialized technical institutions in various disciplines.
India’s world famous Engineering and Information Technology Universities offer a wide range of courses in engineering, medicine, agriculture, management, humanities and social sciences, fine arts, science, bio-technology, bio-informatics, space technology etc.
Under a special programme called Direct Admission of Students Abroad (DASA), up to 15% of the seats are available to foreign students. Educational Consultants India Ltd. (EdCIL), a public sector enterprise under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, is the coordinating agency for foreign students.
EdCIL (India) Limited has a wide service spectrum:
Institutional Development –EdCIL undertakes projects on turnkey basis ranging from Schools, Polytechnics, Technical Institutions and Universities.
Procurement-As a part of integrated Institutional Development, EdCIL assists various Educational Institutions in procurement of educational aids ranging from school kits to hi-tech laboratory equipments.
Placement & Secondment – EdCIL is the nodal agency of Government of India towards promotion of Indian Education abroad and is the ‘Single Window Service Provider’ for the placement of Foreign Students, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) for higher education in its associated institutions. EdCIL also undertakes Secondment service via recruitment of Indian Faculty and experts in various International Institutions in developing countries.
Technical Assistance – EdCIL offers turnkey consultancy in establishment of Educational Institutions in India and abroad. Ranges of services include Preparation of Detailed Project Reports (DPRs), Preparation of Detailed Feasibility Reports, Institutional Planning, Educational Planning & Administration, Curriculum Development, Training Need Assessment and Monitoring and Evaluation of Projects.
Technical Support Services– EdCIl provides programme and management support during implementation of various schemes of Government of India and International Funding Agencies.
Testing- EdCIL extends value addition support to various Government and Private agencies towards recruitment of teachers, professionals, staff, etc, through conducting written tests and interviews.
There was an Exhibition on Education held recently at Friendship Hall in Khartoum. EdCIL had a stall which received an overwhelming response from Sudanese students and parents. For those who could not attend please log into www.edcilindia.com or write to email@example.com
Commandant of the National Defence Academy (NDA) of India, Air Marshal K.S.Gill made a two day visit to Sudan. He visited the Sudan Military College, Joint Military Staff College & Higher Military Academy, and Karary University and met senior Military Officers of Sudan. Air Marshal Gill was very impressed with the infrastructure he saw during his visit. He thanked Maj.Gen.Yahya Mohamed Kher Ahmed the Commandant of Sudanese Military College for his hospitality. He also thanked Brig.Gammar Defence Attaché of Sudan in India who had met him at NDA and invited him to Sudan. Air Marshal Gill was accompanied by Colonel Girish Kalia Defence Attaché of India in Cairo; Mr. Subhash P. Gupta, Second Secretary of the Embassy of India, Khartoum and Maj.Bora of the Indian Army.
Interestingly the magnificent administrative building in NDA is named Sudan Block in honour of the sacrifices of Indian soldiers in the liberation of Sudan in the East African Campaign during World War II. It was inaugurated by then Ambassador of Sudan to India, Rahmatullah Abdulla, on 30 May 1959.
The Ambassador of India H.E. Mr. Sanjay Kumar Verma met the members of Sudanese Businessmen & Employees Federation in the latter’s office in Khartoum. Mr. Bakri Yousif Omer – Secretary General of the Federation introduced the Ambassador to his colleagues. Mr. Verma candidly shared the opportunities for trade, commerce and capacity building between India and Sudan.
The largest commodity that India exported to Sudan in recent times is Sugar with a growth of 25%. Since the consumption of sugar in Sudan has gone up there is a potential of setting up new plants in Sudan and India could be a partner in these projects. There is no conflict of interest but is of mutual benefit for capacity building in Sudan by Indian expertise. Next to sugar were items made of iron and zinc which also grew by 7-8%. Three wheelers were also in the increase and almost all were imported from India. Pharmaceuticals and particularly vaccines were imported from India which grew by 11%. COMESA was the single largest importer of vaccines and pharmaceuticals from India. The other sector which was imported by Sudan from India was Plastic/ PVC products. There is also a potential for capacity building for plastics in Sudan, rather than importing from elsewhere.
What has India been importing from Sudan? 80% of it was crude oil. Now this $300 million gap has to be filled by Sudan. The other commodity which was imported by India from Sudan was Rough Teak Wood which amounted to $13-14 million. This too was from South Sudan. Scrap (mainly Iron, Aluminium and Copper) was also another import from Sudan worth $12-13 million. Gum Arabic was also imported which grew by 33%. India could partner Sudan for the Cotton industry. It can do much better than the $ 1.5 million.
The unique variety of Sesame of Sudan is another commodity Sudan can export to India. Sudan stands second after China from where India imports ‘Leather goods’. This can be more than $0.3 million. Even the import of Chickpeas can be achieved more than the actual $0.3 million. All above data are for the period April’12 to Dec’12 which has been extrapolated for the Indian financial year April’12 to Mar’13.
30% of India’s total imports are Crude Oil & LPG. Anything that can be pumped out from Sudan to India is welcome. The total quantity of gold imported by India last year was 900 tons. India could partner Sudan by not only importing gold but also setting up a Gold refinery. India is the 11th largest importer of Copper ore and concentrates. Indian imports Sunflower oil and Sudan has excellent crop of Sunflower. Sudan can look at this segment including processing units. India imports Chickpeas and lentils. Sudan can boost the exports to India in these opportunity segments.
While answering the queries from members of Sudanese Businessmen & Employers Federation, Ambassador Verma explained that Reserve Bank of India has no directives to dishonor LCs from Sudan. The Government is looking into this issue to come out with a comprehensive solution. He however suggested that Indian Banks accept Middle East Currencies apart from US Dollars and Euro. The Ambassador also announced that Visa to India is actually issued in three working days.
Mr. Mamoun Gamal Managing Director of Citipharma acknowledged the points made by the Ambassador at the end of the meeting.
If you ask anyone about Salah Mahjoub AlKhalifa in the south of Droshab in the outskirts of Khartoum North, you will be directed to his residence. People from Egypt and Saudi Arabia come to visit him to buy his concoctions made of Cinnamon, Ginger, Honey, Garlic, Henna seeds and Maize.
Salah Mahjoub Alkhalifa was a teacher. In the year 1995 he was affected with Goitre a thyroid disease. He was admitted in the hospital for surgery but at the last moment he left the hospital and started his own treatment with a combination of cinnamon and ginger powder. He was totally cured.
Since then Salah has been treating other patients of various diseases with natural ingredients mainly herbs, spices and food substances. It was then Dr. Abdel Rahman Al-Esha , six years ago in 2006, had come to Salah with his neuralgic pain. When he received treatment and complete cure, it became a turning point for him. He took interest in this school of treatment and there was no looking back since then.
Dr.Abdel Rahman runs the clinic on Fridays and Saturdays with a team of professionals comprising medical doctors, pharmacists and lab technicians. During the week days Dr.Abdel Rahman works in the Directorate of Research in the Sudanese Ministry of Health. He holds two master degrees in Community Medicine and Social and Preventive Medicine. Dr.Abdel Rahman treats patients of five categories namely Thyroid group; Hypersensitivity group ( bronchial asthma, psoriasis and eczema); Central Nervous System group ( epilepsy, cranial nerve, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s); Infertility and hormones group and the Hemiplegic and thrombus group. All of them are chronic ailments.
Dr.Abdel Rahman has maintained the records of almost 1000 patients that he has treated in the last 6 years. Lab reports of pre –treatment and post-treatment reveal the efficacy of the nutrient ingredients given in different combinations and dosages. Dr.Abdel Rahman mentioned two cases. The first one was about a lady who was treated for Goitre and had a concurrent disorder of infertility. With the same treatment she was not only completely cured of her Goitre but she also conceived for the first time after several years. Second, about the gentleman from Saudi Arabia who came for treatment of Hemoplegia, after being informed about this place from the internet. He received complete cure within three months and has been sending other patients from KSA.
The consultation fees are 60 SDG and the therapy costs approximately 150 SDG per month. Dr.Abdel Rahman has received patent for all five groups of therapy with acknowledgement from the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Research Institute and patent certification from the Ministry of Justice, Government of Sudan. When asked about setting up a manufacturing unit for his Neutraceuticals, Dr.Abdel Rahman said he was open to foreign investors in his project.
The story of a generation as told by Tarig Hilal has had a massive positive impact. This story was narrated by him at TEDxKhartoum with the theme of positive thinking. Tarig Hilal’s talk which was titled ‘Our Sudan’ is now a project under the same name to make a short film which will go a long way to inspire and encourage the young generation to think differently about themselves and about their future. Please visit in Facebook : ttps://www.facebook.com/ProjectOURSUDAN?fref=ts
His story of ‘Our Sudan’ starts with a painting of a torn and faded picture of Old Sudan. His story is about a romance with the past, losses of his age and of hope for the future. It is about wide clean roads, tree line streets and open boulevards. About young men straight and proud , women wrapped in gold and finery. He is reminded of the early morning siren. Old men were seen on bicycles, cycling slowly through the town. Trains ran on time. This blogger here recalls having read that 50 years ago Sudan had the biggest railway network in Africa with 5000 km of train tracks from Egypt to Darfur, to Port Sudan on Red Sea and till Wau which is now in South Sudan. Tarig Hilal spoke of the Coliseum, St.James and Jazz nights by the Nile. Greek stores which provided all imported goods. Weddings were held for forty days and nights. The same with funerals. Khartoum University was in its glory days then. Exams were marked in London, students had their laundry done and cars were made in England. Sudan had lush green gardens and seasons which broke the heat. This was the Golden age with brave men and women who had fought for Independence and the generation that followed. Men who went to study in Paris, London, Moscow, and Budapest and came back refusing foreign passports and foreign jobs. Masters of the West, children of the East, product of the ‘Khelwa’ and the grandest schools of Europe. People fixed by visions of grandeur and sense of dignity. Men were full of passion and idealism. He looked at them with awe and envy. Awe because of their achievements and envy because they were simple and more passionate. Education was free and the Universities were of world class, secondary schools had good stock of books and standards were not negotiable.
The culture of today’s generation reveres the past. Old is better than new. Romance fired by vision who show them respect. But Tarig’s generation saw the world crumbling and was so different. Broken roads, shattered sidewalks, cracked walls, peeling paint, long queues for fuel and food. The Coliseum is now a centre for fights and only-heard-of St. James. Falling standards of the University. Weddings and funeral are now shorter in days. Buses tilting sideways with over capacity. This time they took the foreign jobs and passports in Europe, US and Asia. Some returned, many of them did not. Gardens were turned to dust. Revolution happened to them not by them. They were not where they could be. The country was not where it should be.
Look to the past with honesty he said. Respect the past.
Today’s tall buildings in the skyline have jagged edges with southernmost limits. China, Brazil challenges the new world order. Black man is the President of USA, internet has the power to connect us all. Golden age was not so golden. Today’s age is not so dark. They live in the world as it is. Today’s generation is to be proud too. So many more people are today in US, Europe and Gulf. They make us stand tall.
Despite the challenges, civil society is active, young man who is a student drives a taxi, women have started community colleges, brother sacrifices his education so that his younger brother can go abroad to study. Many came back to Sudan to start business despite the risks. We must of course respect the past but not live in its shadows. Doctors, lawyers, academics, artists, politicians and soldiers have returned to Sudan. Yesterday need not be better than tomorrow.
“Rather than lament what we have lost, let us take stock of what we have” said Tarig. It is still a great country, a country of great promises. The country is rich in people, heritage, land and resources. Sudan had 39 million people, now 30 million remain . Among these numbers are Arabs, Africans, Christians, Muslims, Animists, Black, White and Brown.
It is a diversity bound by marriage and memories by faith and language, powered by roads and mobile phones, by trade and urbanization, cities in which for the first time all of Sudan can be seen, a land where great civilization flourished and died and grew again to tell the tales of tragedy and wisdom.
It is in Sudan, Middle East meets the African continent, White Nile meets Blue Nile, and Red Sea cuts its way and confluences with its vast land rich in resources like gold, uranium and hydro-power with an access to the sea and the wealth that lies beyond. But most of all it is about its people. People able and eager, desperate to build a better life. Where education is revered, knowledge is pursued and the young clamour to learn despite challenges. People willing to sacrifice for something greater than themselves. Here lies the possibility of redemption, an original sin acquitted, separation of the South is a payment on the road towards mutual dignity, prosperity and respect. This is the Sudan. Respect the past without being bound to it. Accept the present without succumbing to it. Build a future upon both. Build upon a future dream. A new dream. A dream of their generation. Future is not a matter what will be but what could be. It is a choice and it is for this generation to make.
If you are absolutely sure that the Sun will shine tomorrow, certain that if you jump in water you will get wet, doubtless about mother’s love for her child, then you can be confirmed that there is something positive in every single problem that you face. Link it with some music in your life and the habit of being on time everywhere, your life will be good and happy. This was the ‘take-home’ message from Fahmi Iskander’s TEDx talk in Khartoum on Positive Thinking on Saturday, April 28th, 2012.Why do you drink or eat? asked Fahmi…’To Live’ and why do you think positive? ‘To Stay Alive’. There is a difference between being alive and living… When do you breathe? We breathe all the time. Likewise think positive all the time. There is always something positive with every problem.
Fahmi spent his teenage years in Khartoum in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Those were difficult and tough times in the country. There was lack of fuel, gas, diesel, milk and bread. People made long queues for these essential commodities. But Fahmi found some fun in all these problems. His friend used to call him in the wee hours of the morning at 2 am and inform him that bread is available in a particular bakery in Khartoum North. He used to rush there with enthusiasm, keep a brick to reserve a place in the queue with friends and have fun. Even as a teen his father used to hand over the car keys to look for fuel. Fahmi always welcomed this opportunity and even thought scarcity of fuel was a good thing for he got the car keys.
Fahmi was hot tempered and used to get into fights whenever people called him a ‘Halibi’ meaning Whitey, Cracker, Lobster as the English say or Gringo as the Latin. He just couldn’t accept people teasing him with this name. He used to land up at the police station very often after getting into fights. Later on in mid-teens Fahmi became dangerous when he started building his body and play basketball and football. He was now capable of breaking someone’s nose, jaws and ribs in fights. His parents thus decided to send him off to England for studies. He saw the positive in this move to a new country, new culture and good education.
Twenty years later, on 2nd May 2005, when he was in London he was struck with a tragedy. His Dad’s cousin telephoned him from Khartoum. At first the man did not know how to reveal the sad news. Later he told him that Fahmi’s father was killed in a road accident. What? said Fahmi. “Does my mother know this?” The reply was that his mother too was killed with his father in the same accident.”What about my sister?” She too was in the same car but is in the ICU. “Is she dead?” asked Fahmi. His Dad’s cousin replied “No”.
Yes that was the positive element Fahmi found in the family disaster. Fahmi thanked God that all three of them had not gone. One was still alive. Fahmi consoled himself saying that one day or the other we all have to go. His father and mother loved each other so much. They were no more but gone for their “wedding in heaven”.
Fahmi returned to Khartoum for good and sent his sixteen year old sister to England for her studies. She is doing fine and finishing her Master’s in Plymouth. This is the positive in this tough tragedy.
Fahmi has always learnt from his experiences with people. He has found women to be more positive than men. He narrated one incident when he and his friend returned to his friend’s house next morning at 3 am. His friend’s wife started shouting at them but at the same time kept looking at the mirror and setting her hair. This is a positive outlook of trying to look good even while fighting. These only women can do. Fahmi says that if you ask women to choose between diamonds and a mirror, she will choose the latter. This is because when she looks at the mirror she sees all the diamonds she could want. She is the dream.
Men on the contrary are great ice breakers. They can extract the smile out of the most difficult faces especially Sudanese women. Men succeed in getting the profound human emotion out of somebody. This is the positive side of men.
In Sudan people are never on time. They keep their own time. If one starts being on time and makes it a habit of being punctual, one gets a positive feeling. If you are on time, you feel confident and positive.
Music is a positive element in life. People in Sudan are party people, ’Rabbah’ as is known in local parlance. We like to smile and smile spontaneously without much effort. This is part of our culture and spirit. We like to sing not shout, we dance not fight, we are not war people, and we are happy people.
Thus the link between being on time, love for music and positive thinking makes our life good and happy.