It has come to my attention that new arrivals to Khartoum may in fact need concierge-type service in order to facilitate a smooth transition into country. As a result, I would like take this time to make you feel at home, and to ensure that you do not (under any circumstances) continue to annoy me with your actions as you live in the same housing compound and work in the same building as me (and I have -- for no apparent reason, taken a strong disliking to you and declared you my new "arch nemesis.") As such, I have compiled a few Rules of the Road for you to use in this (and any subsequent) foreign postings where I might actually also reside:
- Most people at post do not send emails to ALL AMERICANS and ALL LOCAL HIRES in Khartoum inviting them to a party at your residence (especially when it happens to be in the same vicinity as my house). What you may not realize is that the email address "all Americans" refers to every. single. American. in. Sudan. I realize this may shock you, but there are actually a LOT of Americans in country - much more than will comfortably fit into our housing compound, and much, MUCH more than the single bottle of Rum you have to offer your guests. Equally important, most diplomats usually do not include the phrase "bring your own meat" in any invitation. In my experience, this can, in fact, be misconstrued.
-- You may not want to advertise that you purchase the milk from the local guy who rides by on his cart with the double barrels of "fresh, frothy milk" in the morning. Yes, I am sure it is warm, fresh and frothy. I am also equally sure it is not sanitary. Trust me, I grew up in Montana. We used to get that gallon jar of cow's milk, where we would let it sit for a day or two and let the cream rise to the surface THEN we would scoop it off, and then pasturize the rest of it before we fed it to the chickens...As my British friends like to say, "it's just not done."
-- "Making cheese" - although I am sure it is a wonderful pastime if you are Amish or from Wisconsin, it is not "technically" a hobby per se in America, and probably should not be trotted out in your first encounter with people - both American and foreign -- upon arrival. I mean, you can make beer as a hobby; although unless your name is actually "Sam Adams," many (and when I say "many" I mean, Minoy, myself and Liz) will not really buy into your "hobby." What I am trying to say is that although they may drink your "beer," it should be caveated that if you host a party for 67 people and only provide one bottle of Rum, they're going to (in theory), drink your beer and anything else fermented in your residence. Case in point, I do believe you were complaining that they drank your cheese juice. I think they probably thought it was booze. It is always important to keep in mind that we have desperate people here in Sudan; and desperate people drink unGodly things. However, you should also know that these same desperate people will probably not eat your cheese. (Especially after the whole "frothy milk" incident above gets out. I'm just saying, some people are not known for their discretion in these types of situations. It is really difficult to find good help these days.)
-- And finally, you should also know that your name (in Arabic) means something really REALLY UNappropriate. Further, a good rule of thumb, for when you introduce yourself to the locals, and their eyes bulge out and they seem to get that uncomfortable, won't look at you posture - it means that maybe (just maybe) you should google your name and Arabic. In fact, it gives life to the stereotype here. Further, it kinda makes your inappropriately overconfident manner seem crude and almost disgusting. I'm just saying -- google it and/or ask someone. You might also want to call yourself "Pat" from now on.
I hope that my suggestions for navigating living in Sudan have helped you in some small way. Granted, I am inappropriately bitchy for a diplomat living overseas; however, in my case, we prefer to call it "seasoned" in the foreign service.
I would also like to inform you that although I am currently not accepting applications for new friends at this time, I will keep your application on file and will immediately contact you should an opening surface in the future. Should you need anything further, please do not hesitate to contact me.
The Very Best Day
5 hours ago