No one has primary school
As the hens and chickens dig at the sand around the huts looking urgently for a cool place, the villagers return with the same urgency from the hafir. At the market Mohamed Khamis sits under a tree with many other men he regularly meets during market day. Not far he can see the two beds. If someone wants to buy, they will know where to find him.
Omum, Bakhita and El Fatith welcome the shade in the almost unbearable heat of the midday sun. As tea was a light breakfast for the work accomplished they (appreciate) the meal of sorghum Amna serves them and the following well deserve rest.
3.30 p.m. The hottest hours of the day have passed resting. “People with wells have much more time to do nothing then we,” explains Omum, making her way with Bakhita for the afternoon shift. They will pick and shovel and carry their load until sunset.
Elzibair stays home, his throat is swollen because of tonsilitis. El Fatih, the family member registered as chief of the group, goes to receive his team’s food. Djohame’s 75 households are represented outside the two huts where the distribution takes place and all seem impatient to hear their name called. Everyday, the work each group does is measured and food is given according to the work done. For El Fatih’s family two bags of sorghum and two jerricans of cooking oil were a pressing necessity.
The old ones sit under the surrounding trees, as the younger men pass over the heavy bags and help to load the waiting donkeys. They know that in other times they would be off studying or working in the cities making bricks or selling water. It is custom for the “big sons” to bring income to the family in the village.
In our village they say there are good artists, poets, singers and song-writers, they say proudly. No one in the village has passed a primary school exam for the last seven years which would allow them to attend secondary school. Half of the school situated in Abo-Hermaira, a 90-minute walk, has fallen down because of lack of care. School fees have been raised leaving education accessible only to the rich and because they do not receive their salaries, the teachers are not coming to the village school
El Fatih and his friends’impossible access to education they admit is one of the many negative impacts of war. It is no more a secret, they all know the money goes for war. The war, they say, makes it impossible for us to get out of our poverty. Villagers, young and old are asking that the war ends and that the money go for peace.
Losing five of their friends to war, they consider is enough. They all wear their “haijap”, the good-luck charm that assures that Allah will protect you, your family and your fields. But they wear them with a certain irony and disbelief: “The man who makes the good-luck charmshas been caught by the police and is in jail,” they say, laughing trying to keep their sense of humour despite the lack of faith.