"Thank you for saving me from the bites of mosquitoes and, consequently, malaria,” a Sudanese citizen wrote on Facebook
in reply to the Gas Distribution Authority asking an influx of customers to come another day because night had fallen. They dispersed at least consoled by the saying “better late than never”. With the scarcity of gas nowadays, how comforting, soothing and pacifying is a small wood fire lit concurrently with rain. Its faint glow and the flash of lightning draw the further warmth of humanity as people huddle together as the rains continue. "Excuse me, is this a queue for cooking gas" I asked one of passersby riding a bicycle. “No”, he answered with a smile, ”It is festivities hall. This is a graduation ceremony". I felt proud, seeing families from my town celebrating this moment. I was then on my way to a health centre where I would stay for hours in vain. I sat next to a woman with a young girl whose scarf fell more than once while playing. "Cover your hair from the cold" her mother kindly instructed her. The little girl laughed, momentarily remained quiet, but resumed playing just like the rain outside. The young girl asked her mother "why did you buy this teddy bear? Because It is happy to meet you". She answered with a twinkle in her eyes. The child smiled. In a few minutes she was asleep and the teddy bear had fallen from her little embrace.
Close to the door, another woman moped the floor, vigilantly watched the scene, trying to keep the interior thoroughly clean. She asked the incoming patients to leave their shoes at the door steps. A pharmacist was sitting at the keyboard and near her sat a veiled health insurance officer glued to Whatsapp on her smartphone. Behind her on the wall, there were a box for public complaints and a poster to raise awarness about some endemic diseases. There was no sight of a medical doctor so I had to leave, taking back my health insurance card. I returned to school and went again to another nearby health centre. I left my shoes at school because of mud. From Afar a woman, perhaps a senior nurse or midwife, called out "ya walad!”, " come on boy!” in an authoritarian tone. She was standing at the corner of health centre building near a latrine behind the fence. I could reach her only by pricking my bare soles with broken fragments of glass. She had hidden something and I was eager to know what it was. What? I asked, trying not to show a grimace of pain or a trace of an irritation. " These are the doctor's shoes!” She said. " take them and put them there in front of his clinic door”. I did so for the sake of that doctor who had arrived earlier than his counterparts in other places where patients resisted the pain with courage, waiting for Godot! '' Thank you" I said to the young doctor who handed me the prescription which somewhere I waited for longer than the recent eclipse of moon. While leaving the health centre premises meditating over a day with its joy and dismay, a little child shouted " Austaz! Austaz! Greeting me ån a fruity accent that sounded like the song of birds a house surrounded by many trees. Each tree has spread a tent of perfume, as Norman Lewis says in 'A View of the World'. Happy birth day Sudan Vision!