Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Coffee, Tea, or a Smile?

The Smile is Free!
Photo by Tom Gething, Sudan 2003-2004

Well, I don't know if he bought a tea from the Chai Lady, but he was certainly able to encourage her to give the world one of the most beautiful smiles from Khartoum. The people of Khartoum and throughout Sudan are some of the most warm-hearted and welcoming people anywhere on the planet. I should know. One of my best friends when I was a younger man who lived and worked in another faraway desert land hailed from the ancient city of Al Khartum in the Sudan.

Here is what Tom had to say about this lovely young woman:
"Another picture of a 'chai' (tea) lady working on the streets of Khartoum. This young woman is a refugee from the Nuba Mountains in the west of Sudan, whose 'tea house' is a ramshackle lean-to (made from sticks of cane and plastic sheeting) on the side of an empty brick building.

She looks so young and yet has a beautiful daughter (about 6 years old I would guess).'Chai' ladies can be found on every shady street corner in Khartoum. In the mornings they set up shop in the dawn light, burning the charcoal and mixing their sweet teas and tangy coffee. Some offer delicious doughnuts to start the day, and many regulars stop on their way to work to sit and chat with friends.

It's a precarious existence; the money they make in a day (often 12-14hours) will probably only be enough to buy tomorrow's provisions and pay for a meal for their family."

1 comment:

Mshairi said...

To my mind, this photograph offers much optimism and I cannot make up my mind whether I like it best or the one above it portraying steadfastness and grace.