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"VOF Week 3: (Blogging in Riyadh; Resting in Khartoum)"

Have your say before it dies. Inevitably it will force its way. It does not matter when, why, where or how. Life has taught me to wait, because there is always a chance! With these feelings I entered the field of blogging 8 years ago.

Unemployed, insolvent, disconnected from the rest of my favored professional world, I decided to run the risk. At that time internet was "more secure than the nose of a lion". That was the first challenge.

In 2001, and with a help of a friend, I established my web site: http://halima.8m.net
Immediately the page pumped up. It was wonderful, or that what I thought.

I had a great appetite for writing. With variable journal style, I was writing day and night. For my self and for those who spend long hours in perfuming their bodies to sleep with their husbands in winter, conceive in summer and give birth to babies in fall, unaware that development train has headed towards a next station.

My page was a good opportunity to publish and archive my ideas, conducted interviews, articles, investigative reports and column to potential audience world wide.

By hyper links, I connected many popular websites to mine and, thus could succeed to draw more readers to the page.

In 2007 I established my blog. Here is the link: http://blogs.albawaba.com/halimam
Blogging is the gift of the 20th century. Through the open cyber people can communicate with each other and exchange information in no time. Web blogging is more than that. Journalistic style makes my blog, more close to a magazine than a personal page.
"Interaction between readers and me, variety of materials, actuality, avoiding self description, are on top of reasons that draw commentators and interested visitors to my page.

Although track back mechanism is an effective aspect that helps the online interaction between authors and readers, unless being patient, it will be hard to maintain this feature. This however demands a frequent updating of the blog.

However, receiving a positive comment, on what the blog author writer writes, is a matter of joy that pushes him to maximize efforts. Achieving this goal is one of the challenges that the blogger face every day.

As for me today's challenges are fake Barriers emanating from lack of knowledge of the simplest rules of the process of online publishing. It is not difficult to have a blog, the essential is to be patient enough to continue blogging. It is easy to start, how to continue that is the question. For me blogging in English, among those brilliant, women, on World Pulse is the real challenge.

Blogging in Saudi Arabia, where I live is much easier than in Sudan. Here it is economic,no failure of current, except, for occasional blockage of a number of websites or links.

Comments

philo Ikonya Gacheri's picture

Great to meet you..

Dear Halima,

How are you? I must read more and write more to you. I was in Juba SS which is far from Khartoum but still Sudan. Let's keep this forum really lively since you are so full of energy and so are all the people I meet here. I read your intro with fascination and think you are a great person... keep going...

best,
Philo

"Communication is the real work of leadership" Nitin Nohria

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

A strong voice

Hi Philo,

I am so glad to be one of your fascinated readers. so happy that I have come across you one day.You are a strong voice.
Oh you have been to Southern Sudan. I don't.. Though I visited most parts of my vast country. I like to go there one day. My grand brother who was a student to the University of Juba, before it has been transferred to Khartoum, has pleasant memories about the South, people, nature, wild life.

Halima,

I smile. I so do not spend much time thinking about perfumes and fragrances.... and marvel at many who do this all the time.. and nothing wrong with that... but you are right.. things have moved to another station and women ...us, we must not miss the train... then about blogging many hours... how fascinating I find that....

best,
Philo

"Communication is the real work of leadership" Nitin Nohria

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

A Mutual smile

Philo.

I understand your smile. I smile too.Luckily you have the same idea. This brings us closer, and I do agree with you. Nothing is wrong with that, BUT NOT TO BE TOP PRIORITY. I am talking about a special segment. I don't like them to miss the train. Life deserves to be lived. To be taken all. It will be better if they dare to unveil and experience the "hidden" corners of life . Simply "when life speaks all the winds become words; and when she speaks again, the smiles upon your lips and the tears in your eyes also turn into words." I quote you. At that moment the deaf can heard his words echoed and repeated. Why shoudl women deafen themselves and not to pay attention to the other voice of life?

Warm Regards,
Halima

Dear Halima,

Yes, we are together. Nobody should miss the train and our job is to make sure those who might miss it get on board even if only through our words and little actions...I am not sure right now which SEGMENT this is but the quote at the end of my letters which I love and which you quote is from Khalil Gibran ( the author of the PROPHET) In fact, I was just thinking how to edit it so that I finish off both the quote and acknowledge him. He wrote beautifully and I often quote him.

Yes, life must" be taken all"...as you say. We must not live or allow others to live as if they are dead...So always will use myPEN and actions to get there... and with many... thanks Halima!

Warm Regards,

Philo

"Communication is the real work of leadership" Nitin Nohria

Dear Halima,

Yes, we are together. Nobody should miss the train and our job is to make sure those who might miss it get on board even if only through our words and little actions...I am not sure right now which SEGMENT this is but the quote at the end of my letters which I love and which you quote is from Khalil Gibran ( the author of the PROPHET) In fact, I was just thinking how to edit it so that I finish off both the quote and acknowledge him. He wrote beautifully and I often quote him.

Yes, life must" be taken all"...as you say. We must not live or allow others to live as if they are dead...So always will use myPEN and actions to get there... and with many... thanks Halima!

Warm Regards,

Philo

"Communication is the real work of leadership" Nitin Nohria

philo Ikonya Gacheri's picture

THE SEGMENT

Halima,

I have seen what you meant now. Yes, Let's not miss the train. I wrote you a long one.. and then I clicked submit and.... it failed. Yet when I submitted one before.. it printed twice so ... a little tried by IT and getting too carried away to prepare a talk for 9am... let me write to you again with the same energy another day.

Tu pamoja ( we are together; united)

Philo

"Communication is the real work of leadership" Nitin Nohria

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Our train

Philo,

I enjoy so much reading your comments. I am happy you got my point. Going back to my personal experience about the power of education, published here on this GIANT place, Pulse Wire, I feel the power of change. AN IMMENSE POWER. Train in Sudanese culture refers to separation, may be because of the long distances it covers, but when it comes to change it has a positive aspect. It means social, economic and demographic change. Do you know why? As you know, Sudan is famous for its physical vastness and ethnic diversity; almost a continent in a country and vice versa. Imagine, in the near past, a journey by train, from Khartoum to Fashir, a capital in the west , takes almost a week. Figure out how many people of different scents, tongues, cultures you might have met? A life on board. The train is an effective means of change. Nowadays, bus replaced train, but mine still heading to wards its (terminus), in my mind .

Halima

Halima,

You say these things and my soul aches for the vast and intense beauty of our continent and nation which politics reduces to so little as the Nile snakes its way, and Kenya refuses to honour a water tower called the Mau Forest and Victoria Lake ( Lake Sango if you ask me) gets chocked by a weed called by a beautiful name; hyacinth! I feel so much and I would want to meet those many cultures and peoples and just be there to see and write. I wonder so much at history.. the way our continent was divided into countries was not fair. So, I would just be fascinated by a one week's train journey! In my wildest dreams, not that I think I will do it. A life on board...The train is an effective means of change? How is that? Explain to me. But the internet is a REVOLUTION for change and once again our lands are getting left behind. But much of what it takes to make automatic gadgets, computers included is a mineral found in the deep parts of the DRC.... do not know its name but will find out. Africa feeds many parts of the world, can feed the earth but cannot fit her own children... how many days can a person bear with such knowledge gnawing at their hearts. How do we become proactive for peace? How do we reach those are genuinely pro change? Is Obama? The African woman, here or in the Sudan, in Somalia, in the DRC and all over has paid the heaviest price for this way in which the world looks at Africa and uses Africa?

Tamam?
Philo

"Communication is the real work of leadership" Nitin Nohria

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

TAMAM YA PHILO

Philo

I am so happy that you are interested in my (poor train) and its role in the country's development.Just kidding. My poor train has nothing to do with that one which had covered most parts of Sudan. it had a great role in shaping the demographic, social and economic map of my country.

This is a long rich story, I will be come back soon to discuss it. Recently I experience technical difficulties with my computer and the internet.

Halima Mohamed Abdel rahman's picture

Cultural Manifestation

Hi Philo,

At last I could renew my DSL subscription, formatted my computer and here I am back to our conversation ion this giant Web.
Continuation of previous report on the role of train in social change in Sudan. As you know Sudan is the biggest country in Africa, with the least density per km. Moreover, there were few tarred roads. In rainy seasons, fairies and buses had to stop, thus without the train, most parts of the country would have disconnected.
In the 1960s and early 1970s education was very limited. Few schools were scattered in the center and near west regions of Sudan. Students from the West, center, North and East had to move to the center or the west to join schools.

At that time the train was the cheapest and most important means of transportation that helped in bringing teachers and students from different parts of Sudan. They normally spent four years in a boarding school. During vacations it brought them back to their towns and villages.

Amazingly, the train played a significant role in linking families from different parts and cultures of Sudan. As means of transport, numerous festivals or celebrations took place on board. A marriage ceremony might start in a town and finished in another one; especially when the groom and the bride are from different regions of Sudan.
I was witness of one of such examples; throughout the journey there was always a mutual singing and dancing between those who were celebrating and passengers attracted by the clamor. They spontaneously participated and enriched the celebration. In short, the wedding ended as cultural manifestation. I still memorize many dances and songs.

Equally, while the train was a means of intermarriages, it was the subject of accusation and curse by poets and lovers who accused it of separating them, breaking their hearts and brought sadness to their lives. It is very frequent to hear such songs aired.
There are so many incredible things used to happen on board. As a Slow, less expensive means of transport, had nothing of recent facilities, Travelers from different parts of Sudan have either to bring Sudanese durable traditional food home made for the long journeys. Or to rely mainly on the food rarely sold at the scattered stops.

At dinner times and in the cabins, they sit together share food and traditional drinks. From the north and center, one could easily distinguish (karkadeh), from the west (gongoleiz) and (gudaim) juices. Passengers also exchanged in different Arabic accents or local dialects jokes, songs, news; thus they got to know each other. at the end of the journey;, they might have exchanged addresses and arranged to visit each other next time, for social or economic reasons.
Imagine bringing your traditional food, cooked in west Sudan, shared by a consumer from the North who asked for the ingredients and vice versa.

Economically, it also transferred the goods from production to consumption areas, workers, products, traditions, communities,

Margot's picture

Interesting post!

Hi Halima,

Thanks for sharing your personal history of blogging. It sounds like you are a woman with significant experience in this field and with incredible potential for positive change through blogging. What have your previous blogs been about? I will have to check them out for myself I suppose. I'm happy to hear that your internet access is easier in Saudi Arabia than it was in Sudan. As far as blockage of websites, does the government do this?

thanks again for sharing and best of luck!

Hi Margot,

Thank you so much for your comment and encouragement. When I started bloging, in 2001, it was with the intention to make a difference in my life.I did not want to spend much of my time on house routine and visits to friends and family at the week- ends, as is the case with most expatriates here. I specialized part of my blog to describing expatriates' every day life in a sarcastic way.

My blog concentrates mainly on social, economic and political changes in Sudan. It is a good opportunity to write, publish and mange my articles, column, interviews, investigative reports, etc. As concerning publishing language, It is arabic hence it is my mother tongue and the targetted groups are arabic-speakers.Here is the link:
http://blogs.albawaba.com/halimam

Regarding blockage of websites, the situation in Sudan doesn't differ from here .No exception. But here I find bloging much more easy than there due to lack of power failure every now and then, plenty of leisure time, Internet does not cost much and accessible from home..etc.

Dearest Halima!

I really loved your train story.. really and I shared your letter to me with writers here and tried to interest them that we visit Sudan on internet with you and learn a lot more. Forgive me I travelled and then I have been busy thinking... about many things. and taking a little break from internet but now am back! but will be brief. You know, You write well and I think we can still explore something like literAfrica on internet as we write stories like yours and concentrate on one country at a time.. Africa is a passion.. Sudan ....

best,

Philo

and i wrote long recently then it hung up on me.

"Communication is the real work of leadership" Nitin Nohria

Dear Philo,

During the last two weeks I was forced to be far from the internet. This may explains why i haven''t answer back your precious message.

Sister, I like the idea of traveling and visiting Sudan via the internet.. WOW1 What imagination!

I like the it and am ready to carry out on reality. Let it be real .I almost got your point of writing about Africa. I appreciate the idea of concentrating on one country at a time and am ready to participate. I had a previous experiences of writing about social changes in Sudan, especially after mass migration to the center following desertification, disaster famines and war in the mid of the 19985s and the dawn of the millennium. No need to remind you that social change in its ups and downs is inseparable from governance stability and economic change. This however will be very interesting especially the town where I live is swarming with people of different scents, dialects, religions and traditions. If so I am ready.

Philo,
I didn't tell you before that whenever I read your words I feel the desire to work and brainstorm new ideas . You are a wonderful person and an engine for innovation.

Hugs,
Halima

philo Ikonya Gacheri's picture

Visiting Sudan...

Dear Halima,

I could tell you were not near a computer... am near one too for a while and faraway... but so happy to hear from you, i could not wait to reply... and what a wonderful letter. more soon. 2 mins left onlíne..

love,
Philo

"Communication is the real work of leadership" Nitin Nohria

Halima,

the master blogger... post these comments to my sleepy page too? will talk about my blogspots...

Philo

"Communication is the real work of leadership" Nitin Nohria

Philo,

Pls. do whatsoever you like. Don't hesitate to post all on your blog, even the one in Arabic, my blog, if you like.
By the way I visited your blog and admired it so much.

Halima

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