I have checked out previous posts and while I have written twice about Isoke, I have yet to talk very much about Chukudum or Nagishot (a 2 hour trip futher up the mountains from Chukudum). Through two separate jobs, I have lived in Sudan for a total of 23 months in two separate places. While I wouldn’t even dare to think that I’ve even scratched the surface as far as southern Sudan (let alone all of Sudan) is concerned, I have to admit that Chukudum and Nagishot are by far two of my favorite places only followed by Rai near the town of Nimule where I was previously based.
Why do I love this area so much? Besides the weather, which is damn near perfect - hot in the days cold at night - this land is really fertile. Remember those days when man and nature were one and life revolved around planting and harvesting? Yeah, well I don’t remember it either, but this place gives me an rough idea of what that lifestyle must have been like and I can’t say it is all bad. Now, for the most part, I’m a city girl. I’ve never had to grow anything or really see anything change over a course of time. Never had a garden; don’t have any kids; never lived in a house or neighborhood for more than 4 years so never saw any changes those bring. While I have had friends for many years, the majority of those years has seen me living in one city and them living in a completely different one with us making the most out of modern technology and meeting face-to-face only once a year IF it’s a good year. So you can only imagine my absolute fascination with a place where you can plant a seed for a tree today and be somehow assured that not only will you see that tree grow completely, but that one of your children, or grandchildren will be there to also see the same damn tree (excluding things like war, deforestation, and migration which tend to slaughter the dream).
Anyway, while I was in Chukudum this time, I got to take a very small part in this. We have a project which is basically planting trees and after months of a lot of paper pushing and negotiations (all done by an ex-colleague), I got to actually see all of it slowly coming together. In the small nursery workers (mostly women) are planting these tiny seeds. Once they’ve grown a bit, they are transplanted into small sacks where they continue to grow for another little bit (note my complete ignorance as I use ‘little bit’ which could really mean weeks or months depending on the tree) and then transplanted again in the spot it will become a full tree. It totally made me have a 'I could be a farmer and live close to the land' moment!
.....don't worry, I quickly gained my senses and settled on owning a little garden instead. :)