“I fled from the Sudan with my twin sister. We came to a place near Arnhem. My sister and I lived there until she emigrated to England with her husband. When I was offered a job in Amsterdam in 2006, it was easy to leave Arnhem as I had nothing to keep me there. I came to live in Amsterdam.
I found it a harsh place, at the beginning. Especially when compared to Arnhem. In Arnhem you walk in the street and everyone says hello. If you say hello in Amsterdam, they just say, “What do you want?!” Amsterdammers are very vocal. I got used to this very quickly. I even get commented on as being a bit harsh myself, now. I think it funny to hear that, especially being coloured. Some friends tell you, “You’ve really become an Amsterdammer”. I think that’s hilarious. I do feel like one now, and deep down I’m very proud to live here.
But I’m also proud of originating from Sudan. I don’t like to say anything negative about it. This is why I don’t want to say why I left. I’m proud of my homeland. Sudan might not be the best place in the world, but I’m not going to put it down. At first, I wanted to go back and live there. Now I don’t feel the same way. I’ve built up a life here. The real connection with my homeland was my parents and they are no longer living. But never say never.
I miss less and less of Sudan every day. I often go back and my family there even prepare a menu for when I’m there. Every day another of my favourite Sudanese dishes, for example a special type of cheese; it’s white in the form of a plait. When I come back from Sudan, I always bring five kilos back for myself and another half kilo for my friends. I’m nuts about cheese. Which means I’m a real Cheese head.”
404 people in Amsterdam have the Sudanese nationality