Zahra’s Story – Darfur, Sudan

Zahra lives in Bristol with her ten year old daughter. Originally from Darfur, a region in Western Sudan, Zahra’s first language is Zaghawa, although she prefers to speak Arabic with her Sudanese friends.

Her memories of the kitchen when she grew up, centred around her older sister:

My mum was out working so it was my older sister who mostly did the cooking. She cooked, cleaned, she did everything. She also taught me to cook: we would stand around the kitchen stove to watch what she did, and then we would copy. By the time I was seven years old I could do everything too – all the cooking, the cleaning, and looking after my younger brother and sister”.

The staple dish in most Sudanese homes is Aseeda, a porridge-like dish, made with wheat flour.

Zahra remembers, “I miss the freshness of the milk we used to make it. We would eat Aseeda with curry made from dried and softened meat and dried Okra. The smell of curry most reminds me of home!

I can’t get those ingredients here, so I don’t make it in the same way”.

During a mealtime in Sudan, everything is shared: “the food is placed in one dish which we all share. We eat with our hands and even share the water from a cup together”.