Interview with Marga Nasr Juma'a

By Nanne op 't Ende
April 7, 2006

Marga Nasr Juma'a is from the Missirya Humur. Het tribe suffered from the war and now she is trying to help the people who want to return home.

Marga Nasr Juma'a

My name is Marga Nasr Juma'a. My tribe is the Missirya Zuruq. I was born in el Nahud, in 1958. el Nahud is in North Kordofan but I grew up in Lagawa, where my father was. He had gone to Lagawa, in the area of the Missirya Humur and Missirya Zuruq around Tulishi; he worked on farms, to have grain for the animals.

Later he became a government official and he was living in the town, that's how I got my education. I went to primary school in Lagawa, then to secondary school in El Obeid, and I finished university in Khartoum that was in 1995 after my marriage. I married a cousin and I stayed with him in Khartoum.

When the war broke out in the Nuba Mountains I was living there. My family was affected by the war, especially the Missirya in the Tulishi area. There were many problems over pasture; we suffered a lot. When the war broke out we left everything behind, we came out by night, with our children only.

My relatives moved from the Tulishi area to the eastern part of the mountains. The people were scattered there and up to now they couldn't reunite. They have no services, no schools or hospitals. They are still there; they would like to come back but there is no way and anyhow, the area [of Tulishi] has turned to bush and there are no services [either].

We don't know who is to blame for the war in our area, whether it was the Government or not; we just found ourselves in trouble. As far as out tribes are concerned we don't know the reasons behind the war. Maybe in other areas, but in our area... we don't know. Our boys started dying because of the war and we started losing our cattle also.

I came back to Lagawa in 1991; it was a visit to see the situation. The town was almost deserted. Some people had remained to guard their property, but many they didn't even have houses. I found only some of my cousins. Those in the small villages, they just left with their cattle, but those in the city -. The war really affected us and we lost many people.

Now I am working for the Nuba Women Organisation Network. The network is composed of 22 organisations. We received support from the Dutch Embassy to set up an office in Khartoum. They also gave us money to hire cars to help people return from Khartoum to Lagawa. The Government gave us some money and also the secretary if the Youth Association Hadj Majid.

We had three busses and some lorries for 600 people. There was a celebration in Khartoum, attended by a Government representative, Abdel Bassit Sabdarat. Then the Deputy Governor of South Kordofan, Eisa Bashari, welcomed us in Lagawa. He knows what we're doing for the women's Network. Safa'a {see interview with Safa'a Fadl Rahamtalla) and I came along to bring the people back to their homes.

Many people remain in Khartoum, but no one helps them to return. Transport is not the Network's main objective; we want to give all kinds of aid. Health, education - we work in the field of women and children. Our own organisation is called Awafi. Right now we are working from our own resources, which are not that much. I'm going to return to Khartoum but we will open an office in Lagawa, to assist the people there with their needs.

The war was destructive. There was no education. No culture, no worship. The people were only busy with the violence; this one died and that one died and -

The peace is very beautiful and we're psychologically relieved. Like yesterday, the driver and I came from Lagawa to Kadugli. Before we couldn't use this road and now we even came by night and we arrived to the town peacefully. It's the first time for me to be here by the way.

Interviewed in Kadugli on April 7, 2006.

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