LESSON 42 A VISIT TO SUDAN - Outreach World
LESSON 42 A VISIT TO SUDAN Sudan (As-Suudaan in Arabic) is a huge country--in fact it's the largest country in Africa. At 967,500 square miles, it is approximately equal in size to all of the United States east of the Mississippi. It is almost twice the size of Alaska, 3 1/2 times the size of Texas, and over 21 times the size of Pennsylvania! It is bordered by 8 other African countries. More than 30 million people live in Sudan. The name as-Suudaan actually means, in Arabic, "The Land of the Blacks." The capital of Sudan is al-Khartoum. It is located at the point where the White Nile and the Blue Nile rivers join to form the Nile River, which flows north through Egypt to the Mediterranean Sea. There are actually 3 cities built around this intersection of the 2 Niles--Khartoum, Khartoum North, and Omdurman. Other important Sudanese cities include Port Sudan, on the Red Sea; Atbara, Dongola, Juba, Wau, El-Fasher, Kosti, and Kassala. Sudan's geography varies greatly. The Nile River and its two branches flow for more than 2,000 miles through the country, and are extremely important for agriculture and transportation. In the North there are deserts and mountains, while in the South in some places there are swamps and forests. Sudan is where the Arab/Islamic world meets sub-Saharan Africa. That meeting has not always been peaceful, as Arab Muslims have clashed with the indigenous people and their beliefs. Arabic culture and Islam spread through trade, and Arabic is also spoken by non-Muslims and by people who don't consider themselves to be Arabs. About two-thirds of Sudan's population are Arabic-speaking Muslims; the rest are Christians or practice traditional African religions. They live mostly in South Sudan. Sudan is a huge country and is truly multicultural, multi-ethnic, and multi-religious. Many peoples and tribes live there, and more than 100 languages are spoken in Sudan. More than 500 Sudanese people live in Philadelphia, and the Sudanese community here is growing rapidly. Many are refugees who have fled Sudan's civil war and found a new home in the United States. These young people have been referred to in the media as the "Lost Boys of Sudan."