KHARTOUM (Sudanow) – KHARTOUM (Sudanow) – Schools in Sudan are now in the summer holiday which lasts until the first week of July. In most cases these are the times families seek to use to spend with their kids. A few years ago, areas to spend such times out in public park and recreation zones, were scanty, especially in the capital cities. Today it is a different story; more and attractive destinations are inviting families to enjoy time with their kids. Following are a few examples (Photo: Mahjoub Mohamed al-Hassan):
In the school holiday students flock to the riversides in search of moderate weather and a lively stay in the cool water. But the riverside is not always safe. The youngsters with inadequate experience in swimming can get drowned. Such calamities can be blamed on the scarcity in specialized and well-constructed swimming pools.
Sami Sirrelkhatim, a civil engineer and member of the Sudan Swimming Federation, had surveyed youth fatalities caused by drowning to discover that most such fatalities occur for youngsters between 10-20 years, representing 70 percent of the overall fatalities caused by drowning in the country.
Sami’s statistics inspired him to build a swimming pool in the vast Eastern Nile District of Greater Khartoum. As big as it is, the district did not have even a single swimming pool as the Capital City’s swimming pools are confined to the districts of Khartoum and Omdurman.
The Martyr Abubakr al-Tayyib Secondary School in Hillat Kuku neighborhood was nominated for the project, where students and other amateurs can practice swimming and enjoy themselves away from the hazards of swimming in open rivers.
The swimming pool was designed along French specifications as the first facility to follow the French style of swimming pool design in Sudan.
The pool’s water floor is graded. It is shallow along the pavements and goes deeper as one swims towards the center. This design allows swimmers of all ages to stay at the same water level. The facility is overseen by a swimming training team from both sexes. It opens its doors for females from 10am until midday, leaving the rest of the day down to 6pm for males.
The training squad takes special care of the handicapped. This squad is also specialized in therapeutic swimming for people with injuries and backbone ailments.
The facility charges a humble 10 pounds per hour, in recognition of the conditions of the low income populace of the district. The monthly rate is 150 pounds for students and 300 pounds for the general public. Dwellers of the district have welcomed the swimming pool as a savior of lives which could have been lost in the river and, in addition, as a place of recreation for families.
HILLAT KUKU ZOO:
The Hillat Kuku Zoo is yet another pleasant place for recreation. Built in 2011 in the Eastern district of Khartoum, the Hillat Kuku Zoo was founded by the Veterinary College of the Sudan University for Science and Technology. The idea was to compensate for the Khartoum Zoo which was built facing the River Blue Nile during the British rule of the country and which was replaced in the early 1990s by a super deluxe commercial complex: The Burj al-Fatih Tower (now Corinthia Hotel).
The Hillat Kuku Zoo is run in partnership between its owner, the Sudan University of Sciences and Technology, the Wildlife Police Force and the Khama’el Parks Company, according to its administrative director Abdelhameed Mohammad Toam.
The Zoo was opened for the public where school children and families can spend good time.
MINI FOOTBALL PITCHES:
Youngsters can also go play in mini football pitches, which are now growing viral in Khartoum.
A mini football pitch is a small playground with internationally agreed upon specifications and dimensions. It is usually covered with artificial grass spread upon a cement hardened ground. For convenient use during the night it is also equipped with football floodlighting.
The idea of mini football pitches was first adopted by major football clubs to train players on individual football skills normal football pitches do not permit. Investors then adopted the idea in search of profit. Scarcity of playgrounds had given the business a big boost. Youngsters flock to these pitches towards sunset down to midnight to play or watch the games. Rates vary from SDG 100 to SDG150 during the night. The day rate can start from SDG50 to SDG 100. The mini football pitches are now considered one of the most lucrative businesses.
Elders and pensioners like to spend their leisure time playing cards or watching TV in neighborhood clubs. The neighborhood youths can play volley and basketball or, else, watch soccer games on the club’s giant TV screen. Some clubs invest in billiard tables for youths to beef up their budgets.
THE NILE AVENUE:
The River Nile shore from Khartoum to Omdurman is now a popular place for spending the night where one can enjoy the cool weather mixed with the odor of plants grown on the river banks. The Nile Avenue is an open place where all sectors of the society can go without any fees. Families gather in groups to drink tea and coffee, play games and sing. They can also buy what they need from the peddlers roaming the place.
Families like to take their children to the children parks where they can play their favorite games. Children of different ages find in children parks of Erkoweet and Burri, both on the Southern and Eastern sides of Khartoum International Airport, for example games of sorts.
THE GREEN SQUARE IN KHARTOUM:
The Green Square in Eastern Khartoum is one of the important places families can go and spend a good time. People flock to the Green Square (or the Green Plaza) where they can find wide spaces for walking and jogging and where children can enjoy themselves with the so many children games and gaming activities scattered around the place.
In the Square one can see groups of women peacefully practicing walking exercises with their children.
A lot of cafeterias and fast food restaurants are scattered around the place where families can secure their needs of food. This can allow visitors as much time as they need to stay in the facility.
Galas are often organized at the square. Some families also prefer to hold birthday parties there.
Poets, amateur singers and dramatists display their creation direct to the public on the Square’s theatre.
Extended families also congregate at the place in what has now came to be known as “the Family Day” where they can reunite and spend a good time together. Here family members from different locations head to the place (on a fixed date each month), carrying the foods and drinks they like with them. They spend nice time together and have time to know about each other.
The holy fasting month of Ramadan is a good opportunity for people to come together and help people in need. During this holy month one can see the place swarming with groups of people assembled to take breakfast. After breakfast, the faithful line up for the sunset prayer in a touching scene.
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