I've never felt so short and white in my life.
This weekend I spent filming Sudanese Appreciation Day. I've been filming pretty much solidly from Friday night, Saturday from 8:30am til midnight, and most of the day today. It's been one of the more remarkable weekends for me. Culturally, the Sudanese community are very similar to us (sense of humour is one common point; they're funny guys, and they love their food) and very different. Appreciation Day is the day set aside for the Sudanese Lost Boys to say thank you to the Australian community through doing charity work and putting on a concert. It's been hard work, but worthwhile.
Today, though I didn't HAVE to film for my project, the Lost Boys really wanted the footage so I went by myself (short white girl to the rescue!). It was really worth it, there was a forum on in which they opened the floor to the Sudanese people and they discussed issues relevant to their community. What particularly interested me was the debate on women's rights within the Sudanese community, and the role of women. Those opposing women's rights were primarily, I think, not opposing respect to women in general, but concerned about the loss of culture in women rejecting their role in the home. As one Sudanese woman pointed out, however, perhaps the men were more worried about their position in society. Most of the young men present, however, believed strongly in equality between genders and that was encouraging.
Altogether, the weekend was fairly amazing. I've not felt so welcome among a group: it seems to be the Sudanese way that they see everyone as friends until they demonstrate they are otherwise, this is an attitude that hopefully Australian culture can adopt. I learned a great deal about Sudanese culture and their way of life; and it makes the situation in Sudan even more worrying to me.
Now, to sift through 14 hours worth of footage...