Despite the southern Sudanese town of Dinder feeling far poorer than parts of the north of the country – indeed, making parts of Khartoum feel quite affluent and extremely clean – the people were the most incredibly hospitable, generous and effortlessly selfless I have ever met.

We were taken to a bakery by a friend we had made in the town. It was midday and there was a crowd of people outside the bakery, looking fairly impatient and disgruntled. We waited along with them for half an hour so. Then, just as the bars at the front of the shop were opening to pass bags of bread out in exchange for SDG, we were pulled in through the back entrance for a private tour of the bakery.

It was industrial-sized and quite impressive, with about thirty men working inside. We were taken around the various ovens and other machines for the few different types of bread they baked here, and met and took photos with many of the bakers.

At the end of everything, we got two ginormous bags of bread hoisted upon us. We put our hands in our pockets to pull out some SDG but the bakers refused to accept anything. We put up a good and long fight but there was eventually nothing we could do.

So we left with the feeling that of all people in the world who should be giving their bread away, these men were at the very bottom of the list. But that it was this very fact that made the gesture all the more beautiful.

© Gabriella Zoe Harris. All rights reserved.

Dinder River Crew

As my friend and I hiked out of Dinder town down Dinder River, a tributary of the Blue Nile, armed with tent and provisions for up to five days, it began to really dawn on us how very strange this must be as an activity to the Sudanese.

We were first escorted by herdsmen with their clouds of goats. Then a bunch of boys who had been swimming in the Nile joined and we chatted and walked, as well as having a large photo session. We passed a few old men drinking tea as we started to leave the business of Dinder town behind and went right down onto the banks of the Nile. We had to dot between hiking right on the river and climbing up the steep riverbanks to the higher bank as partitions had been created between people’s land right by the river. We then came across a number of men working on the water pumps on the water or making bricks on the banks, and children and teenagers playing and hanging out.

It was a very slow, hot and interrupted beginning to the hike, but an extremely friendly and sociable one.

We hung out here for a while, playing with the camera, eating mangoes, and listening to music from their radio.

© Gabriella Zoe Harris. All rights reserved.