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Khartoum market, Sudan

We were returning from a marketplace shooting incident in Darfur which killed people and required us to provide trauma intervention and crisis response. This was 2007. Reaching Khartoum, in triple digit heat, I asked my Sudanese driver to take me to the local market. I wanted to give context to what I had seen at the previously destroyed market. I was seeking an image of a market's actual function of bringing together people around the common value of food.

We entered the market. I saw no other UN workers, expats, or Westerners. Understandable, given the warnings to not visit certain areas without escort. Still, the food and the cultural life of the Sudanese beckoned me, especially after being in the Darfurs.

I found the Khartoum market brimming with activity and food. The displays of fruit and spices were so artful and vibrant. The cauldron of famine and war was everywhere in Sudan, but walking through this market, you could have forgotten that fact for a moment. What I saw provided me with the best evidence that the Sudanese know what to eat and how to honor that in the market before eating it.