Sudan Stories: Language, Guns, & Phones – Media Training In Cairo

April 28, 2014

Recorded in March 2014 as part of a media training by Small World News in Cairo, Egypt. 

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cairo_skylineFrom an ad-hoc classroom through the bustling streets of Cairo, Egypt to the Pyramids of Giza, this is an audio journal of stories and  thoughts recorded while working with Small World News to train Sudanese media makers in March of 2014.

Our hotel was located down a busy, dusty ally in downtown Cairo. Each day our team scribbled on charts and whiteboards in a top-floor classroom with windows that opened to the noisy clanking of perpetual construction. For two weeks over coffee and sheesha with our Sudanese colleagues we used Android devices to review the techniques of telling stories that deeply resonate with people.

Our group was remarkable, and individually live fascinating lives in different regions of Sudan. Each day was an opportunity to learn more about family, music, language, and culture. With the help of great translators listened to personal stories, asked questions, and recorded audio. As with my prior trip to Sudan, I also occasionally recorded short audio journal entries of our activity. Far from an official report, this is a narrative that tries to capture the essence of the people of Sudan, as well as the sounds of Egypt.


In this episode you’ll hear a number of captivating stories:

  • The story of a mother awake in a storm anxiously awaiting the return of her son.
  • The impact of the Egyptian revolution on tourism at the Giza Pyramids.
  • The impact of violence and systemic marginalization on language, music, and dance in Kordofan.
  • How mobile phones are empowering disenfranchised groups.
  • The pop music of Sudan, Egypt, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.



The experiences shared in this story are raw, unvettable, and sometimes shocking. Yet these experiences are shared by thousands of Sudanese  refugees and internally displaced persons. To learn more about systemic marginalization and the wars in Sudan, Kordofan, and Darfur please read Richard Cockett’s Sudan, Darfur, Islamism and the World.

The stories shared in this episode were conducted with a local, untrained translator and recorded on the fly with a Marantz PMD620. I speak Arabic poorly and did my best to keep up with the narrative, but surely much nuance and context was lost in translation. Arabic clarification and edits are welcome.

Thanks for listening.


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Filed under: Audio, Blog, Culture, Episode, Interviews, Media, News and Politics, News/Commentary, Podcast, Politics, Post Archive, Reporting Tagged: Audio, Brian Conley, Cairo, Dan Patterson, Egypt, Episode, Guns, Interview, Journalism, Kordofan, Language, Media, Nuba, Phones, Podcast, Reporting, Small World News, Stories, Sudan, Teaching, Training

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Source: Dan Patterson

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