We had arranged to meet Suleiman (from the wrestling) for breakfast at 10, this meant we needed to catch a bus to the outskirts of town which we did then had to borrow a phone of a local shop owner to call Suleiman who then came to meet us.
We went to a friends restaurant but didn’t stay as his sister was ill and couldn’t cook, we ended up going to the street Suleiman lived on and have breakfast in a communal set up, which is traditional to do on the day of a wedding (his neighbour was getting married). We were then invited to his house and introduced to his family.
After meeting everyone one we all piled into minivans to drive back into the city centre and an area of woodland on the bank of the Nile, a popular spot for residents of Khartoum to come to with family on Fridays. Nick and I were treated as honoured guests, being given seats (along with the old people) and everyone else had to sit on mats on the floor. Over the next couple of hours preparations were made for wedding celebrations and then the festivities begun. The festivities included speeches, poem readings, songs, a comedy sketch and more speeches. Unfortunately we had to leave before the program of events was complete and we of course had too stand up and say thank you to everyone for being allowed to be part of the day.
We had two more things to go to during the day, the first of which was going back to Omdurman and watching the Sufis (an Islamic sect) worship and then going to another wedding in the evening. Watching the Sufis worship was a very interesting experience, it involved a lot of chanting, dancing and some spinning, a lot of the worshipers also had very vibrant orders of dress which added to the experience. At times however it felt as if we were the ‘entertainment’ as a lot of people wanted to talk to us and take pictures, at one point we got chatting to an older man who had studied agriculture at Reading University in the 60s who offered to have tea with us which we accepted and chatted for about half an hour before we departed.
We had a brief time back at our hotel to shower and change before going off to our second wedding of the day. This wedding was in the affluent part of town and we’d been invited by some people who Nick had spoken to at the airport when he arrived and who had dropped him off at our hotel. The who event was very different from the morning, these events were much more western, including a first dance, followed by more dancing (lots more), there was food (no alcohol of course) and then there was a traditional Muslim part where the bride and groom changes into traditional wedding attire and then walked through the crowd to the end of the room then shook hands with everyone and the groom sprayed perfume. Overall it was the most extravagant wedding either of us had ever been to, there were three photographers, a film crew of five(plus a director) they had a camera boom and live streamed the filming onto screens around the hall. An excellent evening to finish a really interesting, fun day.