My name is Jaber Abdullah Mohammad. Since arriving in the UK as an Asylum Seeker someone I met called me Jimmy instead of Jaber, perhaps because it’s easier to remember for a British person. I am ok with this because it creates a bit of humour with friends I have made since being here. This doesn’t mean I have forgotten my real name or culture, it is just a friendly way of fitting in with people in Britain. I was born in Sudan but felt I had to leave because of the situation in my country. In Sudan I had only had a general school education but I wanted to progress to college, but this was difficult in my homeland, therefore I decided to leave to further my education.
I have written this book to highlight many of the problems faced by countries in Africa, but not in a way to criticise any of the current regimes but to suggest ways they can govern in a fairer and better way based on my own experiences.
Many of Africa’s governments face very challenging situations made much worse by various conflicts. This is apart from the lack of resources needed to deal with poverty and disease. These things will still be very difficult to overcome if we had peace in our respective countries. Without peace we cannot attract the investment we need to become more prosperous. It is also difficult for aid workers to help the people because of the dangers caused by warring factions. Even if we had peace and gradually became a bit better off it would still be difficult to combat the different types of health problems faced by the people.
There are many different cultures with their own distinctive tribal customs. Some of these behaviours are outdated and would not be understood around the world. This stresses the importance of education and also the necessity of teaching tolerance so we understand that although we have different ways we are all human beings.
I also want to explain about the challenges faced by Asylum Seekers. I realise there is a backlog of cases to deal with because there are so many wars and various conflicts in many parts of the world so the system is under strain. However, I am grateful to the British Government for allowing me to stay in this country while my claim is being processed so at least I can feel safe and secure.
In Sudan the school day ends at twelve o’clock, this is because the heat has become sweltering by this time.
When I return to my house the temperature can be as high as 35 to 40 degrees.
When I arrived at my house I found my grandfather who was always drinking coffee.
I greeted him, but I was not in a good mood. He asked me why are you so sad. I told him I always try to do good things for my friends but sometimes they don’t do anything for me.
He approached me and said listen to me and I will teach something about life.
You should always try to behave like a man who does good things for people without expecting them to return the favour.
Just as roses smell nice there are some other things that smell bad. It is much the same with people. Most men are good, but some are evil. Not all men are equal so there are different levels of good and bad behaviour. I will tell you a story and you will learn how to treat people in the right way.
A man was riding his horse across the desert. During his travels he found a man who was all alone dying of thirst and hunger.It appeared that the man had lost his way so the horse owner decided to help the man. He gave him food and drink and asked him where he was trying to get to. It turned out to be the same place the horse owner was travelling to. They decided to travel together, this meant they would take it in turns to ride the horse and share whatever food and drink the horse owner had. When the night came they decided to stop and rest and sleep before continuing their journey in the morning. During the night the man who the horse owner had decided to help had stolen the horse and taken all the food and drink as well. So now the horse owner had lost everything and was alone in the desert.He walked on foot in the desert without water and food for three days and nearly died.
As for the thief he rode away as quickly as he could.While doing this he met ten men riding horses. They asked him many questions because they recognised the horse and knew it wasn’t his, it belonged to their friend.
The men thought the thief had killed their friend so they tied his hands behind his back with rope. They decided to follow the trail the thief had taken and eventually they found the horse owner dying of thirst and hunger. They gave him food and water and told him we found this thief trying to escape on the horse he had stolen from you. The reply from the horse owner astonished the men because the horse owner said who told you this man is a thief. I gave the horse and the food and drink to him. The horse owner then thanked the ten men for bringing the man back to him because he had forgotten to give him some money as well. At this moment the thief exclaimed surprise at the words of the owner of the horse he had stolen. The thief asked to speak privately with the horse owner. The thief said, why did you say this when you know I am a thief and stole your horse and your food and drink.
The horse owner replied.“If I say you are a thief and stole my horse and my food and drink in front of my friends, they will harm you and not do goodness to anyone else who needs help. I know people are not all evil, there is some good in everyone. I don’t want your bad behaviour as an individual to affect other people.”
In this moment the thief understood this lesson that he had not learned during his life. The thief thanked the horse owner profusely and promised him he would never ever steal again. Because the thief realised he owed his life to the horse owner he continued to express his gratitude as he went on his way.
My father was always telling me to be a man my son, not only for yourself but also for your friends and your country. I have always told him, I always try to be a good man. I was a teenager and didn’t quite understand what it meant to be a man, what it means to respect others so they respect you.
What does it means when I stop at traffic lights and see somebody who might need help, for example an old woman or a blind man that wants to cross the street. So should I pass them by or stop and try to help them?
What does it mean to go home at the end of the working day and smile to your spouse and your children, especially after a difficult day when I haven’t earned enough money to take care of them.
How to be a man, no matter how big or small problems might be with your friends.
How to be tolerant with your friends and behave like a man. These are easy and simple sentences to pronounce, but they have a greater meaning.
I am sorry dad, because I did not always listen to your advice or properly understand the true meaning of what you told me at the time. But I promise you I will pass on your good advice to my children. I will teach them good things that will benefit them and the generations that come after them.
Try smiling when your heart is crying , try to smile when you’re sitting with a girl and you tell her how much you love and care about her and want to marry her and she answers, I am sorry I love someone else.
Try to smile when you lose nice things, try to smile always and keep believing everything will come to you in the end with God’s help.
This is the story of a small family consisting of a father, pregnant wife and two young children. The father sells coal in the local market to feed his family. He starts work at 6 o’clock in the morning and one day he found it more difficult than usual to find any customers. He had to knock on many doors asking everyone if they wanted to buy his coal. He would say I have good coal and it is the best coal, but still he could not find any customers.
By 10 o’clock in the morning, it is time for breakfast in my country. The father had still not returned home at the time he was expected. The children kept asking their mother when will our father come home, because we are so hungry. Mother would say with a smile we must be patient and wait a while until your father comes home and he will bring food and drink and money, so there is no need for you to worry.
The mother knew only too well the impatience of children and their lack of understanding of the difficulties that parents have to deal with. They only know they are hungry and need to eat to make themselves feel better. Hunger doesn’t discriminate, it shows no mercy and affects everyone regardless of age.It is the same for adults, children, babies and pregnant women.
Instead of returning to his home the father kept looking for customers to buy his coal. The time continued to pass and it wasn’t until 5 o’clock that he finally found a customer willing to buy his coal.
The customer asked him how much is the price of your coal?
The father replied to his question and told him the price. The customer realised how desperate people are to sell their wares, so he said your price is too high so he offered the father a much lower price. By this time the father had become so desperate that he accepted the lower price.
The father knew he had no choice other than to accept such a low price because his family were so hungry and he had to get some money for his wife and children somehow. Now that he had a little money he didn’t look for another customer, he went straight to the nearest shop and bought tomatoes, potatoes, bread and milk which was all he could afford. It was now quite late and he was desperate to get home because his wife and children had not eaten anything all day and he was very worried about them, so he rushed home as quickly as he could.
When he arrived at the house his wife opened the door, he said don’t worry I have some food and milk for you and the children. He hugged his wife and had tears in his eyes. His wife was so relieved she began to cry tears of joy while she prepared the food for the little ones. For the first time today the father was happy and smiling. He felt a little bit proud of himself because he had finally accomplished at least some of what he had set out to do for his wife and children. People in many other nations take it for granted they can feed their families every day. For the simple man I have spoken about in this story, it would be a dream come true for him if he didn’t have the daily stress of worrying from dawn till dusk about feeding his family.
How tough life is when you are away from your family and don’t have a brother, friend or real love from the people closest to you.
How tough life is when you need to runaway from desperate circumstances or have become homeless.
How tough life is when you go to the market and see all the food on display or look at it behind shop windows, especially when you are so hungry and can’t afford to buy it because you are poor with no money.
How tough life is when you are deprived of something you love, and are forced to endure something that you hate .
Sometimes I am fearful when I‘m alone and miss my family. The more I think about all this just leads to me worrying more and more about additional problems. Then my fears increase and this makes it seem even more difficult to find solutions to everything.
Sometimes I feel fear when I think about lost love. I do not know where these feelings come from, but I think it is certain this is just part of human nature.
I love all people regardless of their race or culture as I believe there is there is no difference between human beings no matter where they are from.
I give love freely to those around me and don’t wait for others to respond to this love.
I even try to tolerate those who behave as my enemies, this is because my heart knows the meaning of love and respect for all people.
Sometimes I make mistakes because this is the nature of human beings. Life can be like playing a game when sometimes you win and at other times you lose. In life there is profit and loss, but although I have to endure frustration and setbacks in the end I believe I will be successful. When I look back I realise that although I still have problems, things are better now than they were for me before.
If you want to live a beautiful life, then you must teach yourself how to give more than take from others. For instance take the example of a child who has not yet learned how to speak but needs you love and affection which they always return with a smile.
We should always show respect for good parents. It is natural for mothers to worry about their children because they love them and want to protect their family from danger. Father’s should also be respected for teaching their son’s to behave in good and mature ways so they will be respected and valued in the community. Teachers also deserve respect because if you teach the same lessons over and over again it is easy to lose touch with an ever changing world so they need to adapt to these demands and they normally do this very well. But the most important lesson of all is to teach each generation to live in peace with their neighbours so everyone can share peace and prosperity. We can learn a lot from the late President of South Africa Nelson Mandela who could have behaved in a vengeful towards those who had imprisoned him for many years, but instead he did everything he could to try and bring black and white people together.
Building a country is very much like building a house. Unless we do it properly from the beginning with firm foundations it is doomed to crumble. Any project that is not completed correctly will not stand the test of time, so it is most important that we always remember this.
Human morality will not be complete if we idly stand by and ignore the plight of others who are in desperate need of help.
My heart is full of sadness and my eyes flooded with tears when a friend told me that every three months a ship coming from Libya sinks in the Mediterranean. These ships usually carry between two hundred and two hundred fifty people with no protection from the weather, most of them from Africa.
We only truly feel the pain of these tragic events when it is graphically illustrated to us. Only then do we appreciate the value of life and really understand the victims in all this are human beings.
This means currently the average annual loss of life is between 800 and 1500 people drowning in the sea just trying to get to safety and not directly as a result of war. There are many areas of conflict in countries such as Sudan, Somalia, Egypt and Libya where there is no peace. There is no such thing as safety and security for the people that live in these countries and many others too. They are so desperate to escape bad situations they are prepared to undertake perilous journeys. It is not only adults taking these risks; it is also young children who face the same danger.
It is not just the countries I have already mentioned where war is taking place that have serious problems. There is much poverty hunger and disease in many places so there is a great deal of suffering across the whole of the African continent.
Taking Nigeria as an example, this country is the second biggest economy in the African continent after South Africa and also the seventh biggest producer of petroleum in the world which creates a great deal of wealth and yet most citizens are very poor, due mainly to corruption.
This does not only apply to Nigeria, but also many other African Countries as well. Another problem is that some natural resources for instance the Nile River, which is the longest in the world and passes through a number of countries and is of benefit to some, but not to others. To illustrate this point Egypt is a great beneficiary of this resource, but Sudan isn’t.
Sudan is my homeland and it cannot be rebuilt by dreams and wishful thinking. This can only be done by the hard work of all the people aspiring to achieve our goals. In order to help us do this we need a good President who will be honest and fair with us. It will be most important that whoever is in power consults the people and does not imprison or kill those who might disagree with the policies of those who govern us.It is essential people are treated with respect and everything possible is done to try and fulfil the ambition, hopes and dreams of the people.
If we can do all these things together, in time we can eradicate diseases like Ebola and Aids that have decimated so many communities.
To find true happiness we all have to look deep inside ourselves with honesty and try to treat everybody in the way we should like them to treat us, spreading friendship, love and happiness throughout society. This should apply to all men, women and children regardless of wealth or power.
This won’t happen overnight, but we can eventually make it happen with the help of good education, not only academic but also the teaching of good moral standards in our schools and colleges.
Then one day in the future, Africa will become beautiful, safe and secure. It will be peaceful with no war or destruction becoming a champion, proud and strong like a lion, so that people who are enduring so much suffering and hardship will be able to smile again and be happy.
I hope that one day all the countries of Africa will be more peaceful, prosperous and happier than they are now, then the World in which we all live will be better and fairer. It is especially important that we teach our children morality, good values and give them the education they need to become decent adults so they in turn will pass this on from generation to generation.
Everyone knows the difference between a dream and reality, although a better homeland is not achieved by wishful thinking and dreams. As much as we desire change we have to be sensible how we do this because it can be like setting light to a bonfire starting with a small spark but if we are not careful the fire can get out of control and this is dangerous to everybody.
In our eagerness for fairness, justice and respect for human rights we have to accept that some things seem to be predestined, so we have to be patient, proceeding one step at a time in order to achieve our aims. This is particularly true in countries where many people have little or no education, so accepting a lot of changes too quickly would be beyond their capabilities. This is why education for everyone is so important.
Sometimes freedom in our homeland isn’t what it should be if laws are unjust and the real power is with a handful of people who do not truly understand the concept of freedom for the many and not just for the few, otherwise we will only have bondage and not real freedom.
Slavery is not just about physical restraint, it is also being deprived of going where you wish to go and not being able to express your views and opinions and deciding who you want to work for so you can be treated as a human being and not someone who is exploited.
Freedom in anyone’s homeland can become a form of bandage if the laws of the land are unfair to some groups and not properly regulated. We should not have to put up with difficult or unfair situations just because that’s the way it has always been. Animals cannot change the natural order of things but we human beings can change things for the better.
Slavery is a deep wound in human lives that has gone on for many centuries around the world. Although slavery is not nearly as widespread as it once was it still exists in various places, so we must confront this wherever it is. There are still too many people enduring slavery, living their lives in darkness and crying in their hearts without hope of ever being free.
Nobody understands the reality of pain or the evil of slavery unless they have endured it for real. Most of us can only imagine how awful these experiences must be, but no matter how much we empathise with those who have suffered these things in the past or even in the present time, this doesn’t allow us to fully understand the emotional and physical trauma of the victims.
These situations are terrible for any human being, but far worse for children. Young boys and girls are sold into slavery because of poverty and hunger. This is mainly caused when poor families cannot cope with too many mouths to feed. It is no wonder that these children feel so betrayed because they are told lots of lies about having a better life, but the reverse is usually true and then they realise they have been tricked and there is no way out of this situation because of fear and retribution.
This is especially true of young girls who find themselves married to and exploited by much older men which not only denies them a normal and happy childhood, but turns them into nothing more than subservient prostitutes. Because they are so young they might be pregnant when still underage and greatly at risk of serious health problems including miscarriage. So not only do they have severe physical issues they also have much emotional anguish and unhappiness to deal with.
In many ways Africa is like a young child that has been lied to, betrayed and tricked. This leaves Africa like a barren land with many children living in danger and unable to fulfil their hopes and dreams in a safe and happy environment. They also lose contact with their families and many never see them again.
If Africa was a little girl with tears running down her cheeks a kind caring person would ask what is wrong and what can we do to help. I use this analogy because it seems that Africa is like the little girl. I am not saying she is totally ignored, but she is not being helped as much as she should be.
Those who respect human rights must have compassion or this has no value unless you can feel the pain and suffering of others in your heart. However, what sets us apart from the animal kingdom is that animals behave by relying solely on instinct alone to feed the their young and survive, whereas we as human beings can use reason and thought allied to education to resolve our problems without using force.
Wherever we live on earth we can see the moon and the stars and we can all appreciate their beauty whether we are rich or poor because they belong to everyone.
How beautiful life can be if we live without oppression, being selfish or disrespecting others so everyone has a smile on their face.
Respect is very important, although it must be earned by good behaviour and this should apply to everyone from the lowest person to the highest regardless of wealth or position so we can all live in peace and prosperity. This is especially important when a country is recovering from the ravages of war, but all this is lost if the tears in my words go unheeded.
A burden that is shared by everyone is much easier to deal with and this applies to small problems as well as big ones so it is not just limited to one person or place, but to the wider community. If we all act in this way individual people will feel they are not alone in this world and can live with honour and respect.
This is the spirit and true meaning of integration when people can feel sympathy for the suffering of others and not have a heart of stone so we can appreciate and understand the need for help even before it is asked for.
If someone is in tears, some people take pleasure in the grief you are going through, although this would be offensive to most people.
Three of the biggest religions are Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Although these religions are different they share certain core values, especially regarding the importance of human rights and the prohibition of shedding blood, spreading war and hatred amongst people. For anyone who professes to have strong religious beliefs and then acts against the teachings of these great religions goes against the laws of Godand divine teachings. This is because God will not be pleased with the violation of human dignity no matter what.
Just one man trying to carry out a difficult single task might find it impossible to complete it on his own, but with the help and assistance of others he will be able to achieve a great deal. This principle can also apply on a much larger scale to towns, villages, cities, countries and even continents if we all work to achieve common goals and ultimately cure the world of poverty and disease.
Homesickness is experienced by everyone no matter where they come from originally and regardless of colour, creed or culture. Nobody can forget their childhood memories so every refugee is affected by this one way or another.
I know a story of a very old woman who became very alarmed when a rocket landed near her home so she grabbed her grandson and carried him to the safety of the shelter where her sheep and cows were kept in order to protect him.
A fox is sly and even if he is very hungry and out hunting chickens for food, he fears for his life when hearing the sound of bombs. This fear is greater than his need for food as nothing is more important to animals or human beings than the preservation of life.
There is also a story of an old Somali man who heard a very loud explosion and he asked children playing nearby what the noise was and they replied it’s only war. Young children who have only known the horror of war accept this as being normal because they have never experienced peace in their short lifetimes. Although it can be difficult to achieve, we need to try and create safe areas in war torn countries so people affected by war can be in put into a safe environment protected by peace-keeping forces until it is safe to return to their homes. To illustrate this I will use an African story of an eagle and a snake that are normally enemies in the natural world. An eagle flying high in the sky sees a snake surrounded by fire. It swoops down and picks up the snake and takes him to safety. This could be like a plane that is used for war, but instead it brings supplies instead of bombs and can also be used to take people to a place of safety.
Africa is like a person who has arrows fired at his limbs and feet and he feels that he should reply to this violence by attacking the heart of his enemy to make him stop his violent behaviour forever. When I was little I dreamt of creating a missile that had no parallel to the weapons that were being used to attack me that would stop the attacker. Now I am older I realise that rather than create a weapon of war it would be much better to create something that could be used for peaceful purposes.
Africa is like a little child with many hopes and dreams, but it seems like these will not be fulfilled. Many other countries in the world change for the better but things just seem to stay the same in Africa. The beauty of young people’s aspirations to live in peace and safety are like a candle that has its flame extinguished by malice and hate. We need the candle’s flame to burn brightly to take away the darkness caused by war.
Africa has so many beautiful features to her landscape such as her mountains, rivers, plains, forests and deserts. This is still the case even with the scars of war. However, this beauty can be even greater once we all learn to live together in peace and prosperity.
I dreamt of many good things that were not possible at the present time and also imagined other things like dangerous weapons. In a way I envy the scientist who has the ability to make rockets and admire them for being able to build them. But when I think about the destruction this causes I hate myself for thinking this way. Now I have begun to realise how much better it would be for the scientist to use this ability to create things that are not used in war but create and build things to help us to live in better ways when we have peace again so we can leave weapons of war in the past.
In every country in the African continent we need leaders who treat different tribes and ethnic groups equally under the justice system so that everyone has fairness. There should be no distinction between North and South, East or West, just one continent covered byjustice and mercy for all. There needs to be free education, health care and free food if you do not have enough money to live on. As many Hospitals, Schools and Universities need to be built in every country as soon as possible. The law of the land must be strong so it delivers justice for all people in every nation. We also need to work towards building better relationships with all countries on our respective borders as well as others that are further away.
Facilities would be for the improvement of all. How much better it would be if all school classes could be held in modern buildings with up-to-date equipment to educate the pupils giving equal opportunities to both boys and girls.
The same principles also apply to health care in a clean and modern environment so patients can be treated properly and given the best chance of recovery from illness.
Until the country is safe people must be protected from war. This would mean sending all refugees to safe zones in their respective countries or the nearest countries where they can feel safe until they can return to their homeland when it becomes peaceful again and help to rebuild and develop the country for a better future for our children.
Everyone should be encouraged to respect everybody else so there will be no more injustice and our society will then become more tolerant.Although we are proud of our culture and traditions and love our country we need to respect other countries too. By adopting these attitudes we become strong as individuals and also as a country.
Although the sun is visible to all the people on earth, the truth can only be recognized by people who have an open mind and compassion in their hearts.
If you want me to tell the truth, first of all I need to feel safe and secure, so I can speak openly without being afraid to do so. This is the first step to building a better country.
Good advice comes from within the hearts of those who have learnt about life through difficult experiences, especially war which destroys countries and peoples and causes great distress to families. However, all this can help to put love in the hearts of children while also teaching them about their culture and heritage.
As awful as these bad experiences may have been, it shows us how important it is to have peace in the world so we can rebuild everything that has been affected by war. Then our children can learn to build and grow things such as crops and even flowers to make their country look beautiful and peaceful again instead of using weapons to hurt and destroy each other and cause destruction. This will help them to understand that man lives once and if we all try and live good lives and teach this to our children it will be carried on by future generations so goodness remains forever.
When my friend told my about Barnsley and said it is a small town, and you might not like it, because you won’t have the same opportunities available to you as you would find in a big cities likeLondon, Manchester or Liverpool where you’ll have a greater choice of educational resources and more jobs enabling you to progress more quickly. Although much of that is true, it is easy to lose touch with your friends in a much bigger community because we can become scattered over a wide area, whereas it is much easier to stay in touch with the people you know in a smaller community and this makes it better for refugees and asylum seekers to integrate into society. My own experience of this in Barnsley has been that it is easier to bring people together who are living in different parts of the town.
I have told them the problem is not where you are living. The problem is when a person living in a town with small dreams is that the town seems very small in comparison to a big city. It is not the size of the town or the city that is the main consideration. It is the size of the dream and aspirations someone has that is the most important thing.
To my fellow refugees and asylum seekers I have told them how important it is to show love,respect,trust,honesty and good ethics and then people are much more likely to show love to you.
Some things are not impossible, but if a man wanted only to be in a small place in a small room with small ideas and thinks only of eating and sleeping he will achieve little.But if a man wanted to transform the dream of a small idea into a big idea, this can become a successful project,creating strength from weakness.
The simple idea I had was to buy a football for three pounds and bring refugees together. I told them life is tough,but we must live with all the pain and rigours. I told them the tiger stands strong, and the eagle loves space and a life of freedom so we have to be strong like tigers and live in space like eagles do. We have a football field and we are brothers who play there and afterwards we all eat together. We also go to English language lessons at the Red Cross and then to the library for conversation and coffee.
From humble beginnings and help from the local community, especially Barnsley Football Club, we have now developed into a team with proper kit that plays home and away matches.
The hearts of refugees in Barnsley have gathered and are united because we face the same challenges as Asylum Seekers; this has made us sympathetic to each other. We come from many different countries, cultures and traditions which can make it difficult to achieve unity and understanding. So we need to replicate the same understanding and respect for each other in our homelands as we have managed to achieve in Barnsley.
All this has been made possible because of the dream of one man who started it all with a football in a local park with a few friends.
The next step for our football team is to play matches with refugee football teams in places as far away as London, Manchester and Liverpool. As far as I know Barnsley is leading the way in making this a reality. Originally just the idea of one person, it has grown to about a hundred and fifty strong from humble beginnings in the heart of one man, which is probably unprecedented in the UK.
Anything is possible within the world in which we live. Only fear prevents us from fulfilling our hopes and dreams. If we are faint-hearted or cannot be bothered to search for ways to improve ourselves and pursue our goals, even simple things won’t be achieved. However, we can be successful in achieving improvement if we are diligent and patient. Seeking advice and the opinions of good law-abiding decent people from all communities will help us all to live in a better and peaceful society.
This applies to the football team I started in May 2015 and below is a picture from that time:
My grandfather used to say that no matter how dark things may seem there is always light at the end of the tunnel, but we must be patient and determined in order to achieve our aims.
This is a story about a farmer who had a deep well. He had a horse that was old and he wanted to get rid of it because of its age. He asked his friends and neighbours to put the horse in the well and fill it with earth. The horse became aware that it was in great danger and as the dirt was poured into the well it shook the dust from its back and climbed to the top of the mound. The horse gathered all its strength and jumped from the highest point of the earth and escaped from the well.
Everyone marvelled at how brave, intelligent and determined the horse was. Although it was only an animal, it knew it wanted to live and wasn’t prepared to just accept its fate, it wanted to survive.
Sometimes a door closes, but we mustn’t surrender to disappointment, despair or worry as another door will open eventually. We must never give up, just like the horse did.
As human beings we can learn much from this. The horse was steadfast and determined in its resolve and we must try and be like this in our efforts to live with dignity and pride.
This is the picture taken five months after the first one and it shows how far we have come from our humble beginnings in a local park to playing matches at Barnsley Football Club. We are very grateful to the club for letting us use their facilities and providing us with our kit.
All of us came to this country from very difficult situations in different countries and this brought us together and helped us enjoy life. This is not only because we enjoy playing football, because after the match we like to socialise by eating and drinking together. I thank God I have changed the course of my team for the better, so they are in a stronger position in Barnsley. Thank God the dream came true.
These pictures show the integration of refugees into the local community in Barnsley and the awarding of certificates for completing the ESOL language class
Here are some more pictures celebrating the diversity than has happened through everyone’s love of football and learning so we can integrate more fully into society.
An inspired football team consists of refugees with their ESOL teacher, (from left to right); myself Jaber, Mahiadin, Angosom, Abiel, Mohammed and Marko who teaches us English.
I still remember the African morning. I have not seen such beautiful mornings outside of Africa. The sun shines its rays on the glittering green rivers; although Africans have black faces their hearts are white and full of honesty.
I have seen a woman from Nigeria carrying her son on her back tied on with wonderful beautiful cloth. I don’t know how this works, but what I see indicates to me the child is comfortable and full of happiness on his mother’s back hitched on with the beautiful shape and colour of the cloth.
I still think of the Woman going to the market she takes food she has grown to sell for money to buy things for her son to eat.
The above pictures show people in the agricultural community taking their animals to work on the land. In such areas animals are very important to local people because they help everyone to survive in a difficult environment. For these reasons animals are generally well looked after because they are essential to life.
African people like to work from north to south and from east to west. This is in spite of the lack of a developed economy in spite of the lack of opportunities. African people want to create a better future for themselves. They want to live their dreams and have a bright and beautiful future. These people eat simple food and do not have complicated mechanical transport, so they use animals such as camels and donkeys to carry goods and equipment. When they are travelling from place to place and need to stop for the night people from towns tend to stay in houses, but people from the countryside usually use nets that can be put up wherever they stop for the night.
Some people find it difficult to get shelter.This applies not only when the weather is hot, but also when it is colder and difficult to get warm shelter.
Many people don’t understand that although it can be very hot in parts of Africa during the day this changes to exactly the opposite at night when it becomes very cold. Because of this people have to dress according to the weather conditions.
I also remember a man from a tribe in eastern Sudan riding a camel, his eyes showed humility and simplicity, he refuses to ask people for money instead he carries firewood that he will sell to raise money to feed his children.
I once saw a farmer in Egypt going to his field he carries simple agriculture equipment behind him was a bull being dragged with a rope.
In many areas, especially in the countryside most things that people need such as wood, grain, firewood and agricultural tools are transported usually by camels because they are able to carry heavy loads and can travel long distances before they need to be watered again. Camels are well treated because we are taught from an early age that camels have good memories so if you mistreat them they will remember and punish you for hurting them. This is particularly important in areas where water is so precious. Because of the weather conditions on the African continent people have become very resourceful over the years at finding ways to try and overcome problems caused by a lack of water.
Too often poor women are heartbroken because they are not able to help and protect their children. African families want their children to get education but they often get them ready for school, although they have had nothing to eat and no milk to drink.So they have to go to school with an empty stomach. In spite of this they go to school smiling and full optimism for the future when they arrive at the school which is just an area under the shade of a tree with a simple mat to sit on.
The teacher is hungry himself as he waits for the children to arrive. Although the teacher is badly affected by a lack of nutrition he stands there holding his pen like a weapon to be used without mercy in a fight to defeat ignorance, poverty and disease and the enemy of corruption. All these things are the enemy that covers the whole of Africa. It is a family of enemies where the father is ignorance, the mother is poverty, the big brother is disease and the sister is hunger.
If people do good deeds to others then good will be done to them just as the old saying goes; as you sow, so shall you shall reap. If crops are planted in a bad way it will result in failure, although sometimes you get the same result because of the weather and not because the farmer did anything wrong.
If a man plants crops in a good way and the weather isn’t extreme, he can look forward to a good harvest. If he plants a crop of hatred and envy he will harvest misery.
If I have plenty of love in my soul then I will use this to help other people. Whoever buys goods in secret is usually hiding a problem, there is always something amiss,whoever looks only at his feet is bound to trip up or collide with a wall in front of him.
Whatever has a beginning must also have an end. There is no pain without reason so if you are in pain or discomfort it’s important to be patient and then there is a good chance a solution will eventually follow.
No criminal should ever be allowed to evade justice. Otherwise oppressed people will always be denied victory over injustice, crime and corruption.
I cry sometimes when I am unable to help those who need it. Sometimes my heart is sad when I don’t find enough love from my friends. Although there are times when all things seem dark, but with determination, strength of will and sincere faith it’s possible to make transfiguration of the darkness so that light is emitted from your heart and spread out to all around you.
When we see rough seas it’s not because the sea is angry with itself, but this could be seen as an expression of the storm of life reflecting the conflict of the waves against each as though the sea is at war with itself. And yet when the sea is calm and at peace with itself we should try and make the world more like this. How much better life could be if only we would stop fighting each other and bring an end to war, then human beings can have their rights respected and enjoy peace and prosperity.
Mauritania produces the most beautiful tea. If you drink tea from Mauritania you have never really drunk such tea before in your life. The tea is prepared in such a beautiful way and tastes so wonderful and comforting for the soul.
I can never forget how lovely African coffee is, one time I visited my friend’s family in Khartoum served me coffee in the local fashion with delicious types of sweets and it tasted gorgeous.
Ethiopia also produces really nice coffee which is also popular in Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. There is a great deal of other produce that is also enjoyed by other countries in the region. This is because we have a long history of trading with other nations over many years. This applies particularly to food and drink that originated in India.
Some of the most beautiful food in the world comes from Morocco. I miss so much the wonderful five Moroccan dishes, couscous, tagine, pastilla, alervaish and tunjah. This is a glorious cuisine and so unique in so many ways. The various flavours enrich their food and drink and make it most enjoyable.
The picture below is of a typical market trader in Morocco. You can see for yourself the wonderful variety of food on offer. This is just an example of what is available, because there is so much on offer to create many varied dishes to enjoy.
Moroccan Fried Whiting
There are also many fish dishes to choose from and this is one of the most popular. This easy fried fish recipe uses hake or whiting, which can usually be found in abundance in Morocco. I find hake be a perfect fish for frying. Not only does it have great mild flavour and texture, but the bones are easy to remove after cooking, making it less tedious to eat than other fish.
This refers to ground meat. You can make these Moroccan meatballs from ground beef, ground lamb, ground turkey or a combination of meats. The meat is well-seasoned with Moroccan spices and herbs before being shaped into balls and sautéed in butter.
‘Seksu’ or couscous is a fine wheat pasta traditionally rolled by hand. It is steamed over a stew of meat and vegetables. To serve, the meat is covered by a pyramid of couscous, the vegetables are pressed into the sides and the sauce served separately. It is often garnished with a sweet raisin preserve, or in the Berber tradition, with a bowl of buttermilk.
A tagine is the clay cooking pot with a conical lid that gives its name to a myriad of dishes. Tagines can be seen bubbling away at every roadside café, are found in top notch restaurants and in every home, and are always served with bread.
Moroccan Lemon Cake
There are also many sweet dishes on offer. This is quick and easy to prepare from scratch, this light, fine-textured lemon cake gets delicious flavour from lemon zest and fresh lemon juice.
Aseeda is a traditional Sudanese food.
Kisira with Taglia are other popular dishes.
Drinks from Sudan (from left to right) : Aradeb, Carcadea, Portugal, Gongolas
In my country of Sudan there are three tribes in the east of my country all of these have their own habits and traditions.
One of these tribes is calledAbuja, they have a reputation for being diehard fighters and in battle they know no fear. They travel on camels and are lightly armoured. They all carry the same weapons which comprise of a dagger, sword and staff which are always carried wherever they are.
There are a number of nomadic pastoral tribes who live in the desert. They travel with many animalscows, goats, sheep and camels and dress in their own distinctive clothes.
Albuja Tribal Dancers
Another tribe is Baniamer this tribe also has diehard fighters when at war and like the Albaja carry swords, daggers and staffs and are very intelligent both these tribes have similar diets.
BaniAmer Tribal Dances
The third tribe is the Rashaida tribe, this tribe originated in the Arabian Peninsula they are also a pastoral tribe but with different traditions and habits. This tribe have their own dances but like to carry weapons and buy luxurious cars paid for by various activities.
Rashaida tribal dance
In western Sudan, there are two tribes : African tribes and Arab tribes.
African tribes are Alfawr-alzzaghawa-Alburti-Alttanajjur-Almasalit-Aldaju-Alttamm-Alfulatuh-Albargu-Albargad-Albrnu.
Arab tribes are Alrrazigat-Almasiria-Albagara-Alzziadia-Almahamid-Banihalba-Banihusarn-Almuealia-Almhiria-Al’ubala.
Both tribes are famous for being strong in battle and they do not fear death. They can be spotted carrying hand knives and axes.
A traditional wrestling game of Noba is equivalent to WWE.
Western Sudan dance
There is a variety of dances in Western Sudan: Nugaara, Khashock, Hajury.
In northern Sudan, we have Aljielia-Alshayigia-Kinana-Alrribatab-alrrukabia-Badiria-Aleusilat-Alhudur-Alhamtu-Alddawayhia-Alfadinia-Hamran-Alttaknia-Birbir-Albrabira.
In central Sudan, we have Aljumueia-Alhasania-Alshshunabila-Alshshanakhab-Aljame-Albitahin-Aleagiliiyn.
All these tribes are as strong as the Western tribes. They are not afriad of death and always carrying hand knives and axes.
The three pictures are the traditional dances of North Sudan
In Southern Sudan before the separation caused by war there were tribes called Shilluk, Dinka and Alnnaw.
A TRADITIONAL DANCING FOR SOUTH SUDAN
In South Sudan, most of the people are tattooed on their faces. They take bayonets wherever they go.
When my pen stops writing, this is when my heart becomes full of sadness.The people who love freedom are standing at its door and they grieve over the fighting in Rwanda, Darfur, Somalia and Libya, they do not accept the violation of human dignity.
If we wish to repair misdeeds we should not try to repair them with other misdeeds. An example of how to deal with this situation would be the truth and reconciliation commission setup by Nelson Mandela in South Africa.
The person who ignores other people’s opinions and thinks that only his opinion is correct is committing a misdeed. But who knows whether his opinion is correct or potentially mistaken, this is only human?
Respect of other people’s ideas does not detract from the value of any human being, this person deserves respect. This is the value of democracy so that the people can listen to arguments and ask questions before coming to a decision.
A student who does not respect his or her mentor is not a good student.
Picture of me: Jaber aka (Jimmy) speaking at Barnsley Town Hall
A father who not prepared to work in order to feed his children is not a good father and a mother who does not give her children compassion and love is not a responsible mother.
The worker who is not sincere in his work is a poor worker.
The soldier who does not offer the same redemption and defence of his homeland is not a soldier.
The President who leaves his people in hunger but he lives in luxury with much wealth and many Palaces, he is not a leader worthy of respect.
Those who think that the rights of people which have been taken from them will not be returned to them are mistaken because justice will prevail. However long it takes justice will ensure the rights are returned to the people.
Those who think that the homeland cannot recover and be rebuilt after the ravages of war are mistaken, look at the examples of Germany the UK and Japan. These countries were rebuilt in a comparatively short time (roughly a generation) after the conflict and then became great countries again. This shows that countries devastated by war can stand on their own feet and be prosperous once again when peace has returned. A country’s true strength lies in it’s people. In the right environment sincere, hardworking people can be successful in their working lives, enabling them to live life to the full.
The skyline in Japan
Many individual states have learned lessons from a painful past and seek to make sure past mistakes are not repeated. This is what history can teach us and helps us understand what it means to be patient and give people the rights they deserve. To change human life it is important to learn from failure in order to achieve success.
Car manufacturing factory in Germany
States learned to tolerate other countries because they had learned that without tolerance they could not exist. States were tolerant because they wanted to build a home for their people in a civilised manner. States want to overcome all the difficulties of the past, but it is not easy to forget the human element and especially if it was a painful past. It is better to live a peaceful life in the present and look forward to the future and make our country beautiful.
Inspection of aircraft engine in the UK
When the heart is heavy with sadness this means that grief has reached its peak. If you see someone’s tears usually this means they are suffering from some sort of distress. The lion does not stop walking even if his feet are full of thorns, he carries on despite his suffering. All the pain and sorrow has to end in order for the tears to stop and for the person to laugh again after a long period of melancholy.
Africa today is like a person who has endured a painful past and does not want to be reminded of it in the present. This can make it very hard to face up to the past and learn lessons from it and also make life even more difficult to cope with as nobody would want to be reminded of bad things. This can lead to a lot of worry about what the future might hold, although we still hope and dream that the future can be beautiful. In spite of all this we must try to forget the painful past and the present difficulties because the future can open many doors to an optimistic future.
‘’The greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in raising every time we fall’’
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
Africa today needs men to be proud of and not just look back at our proud forefathers. Africa needs men like Nelson Mandela who changed the course of African history.
If the family of Nations can work together to bring peace to Africa, the problems of poverty, hunger and disease can be consigned to history. If we can achieve this one day we can make it a good place to bring up a family and the beauty of the African continent will shine forth.