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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 February, 2005, 10:18 GMT
Heading home: Rasha Abdel Rahman
Dr Rasha Abdel Rahman
Rasha hopes the newly born peace will extend to Darfur in the west
Following the historic signing of the peace deal between Sudan's government and southern rebels we spoke to Sudanese living abroad about their plans to return home.

Dr Rasha Abdel Rahman is currently living in England.

I have been listening to my favourite Sudanese singer, Mohamed Wardi a lot lately.

His songs are about Sudan's beauty and richness - they make me feel homesick. My family is Nubian, from northern Sudan but I was born in my mother's hometown of al-Qadarif in the east.

When I was very little we moved to United Arab Emirates because of my father's work.

The country was torn in two by a war, that consumed everything

We returned each summer on holiday, splitting our time between my mother's family in the east and my father's family in Khartoum.

I knew about the civil war but it never affected me directly.

It was only later that I realised and understood its effect on the country.

No money for hospitals

I prayed for peace every day

After finishing school I returned to Sudan to study medicine at the Academy of Medical Sciences and Technology in Khartoum.

It was much cheaper to study in Sudan than in United Arab Emirates, but I also wanted to learn about my country and experience life there.

Studying medicine in a developing country showed me the huge divisions within society - I saw the very rich and the very poor.

Map of Sudan

Then, add to that, the fact that the country was torn in two by a war, that consumed everything.

I worked in Khartoum's hospitals while I was studying. Their facilities were terribly run down and everything was dirty. Patients died from preventable diseases.

There were too few doctors and nurses.

All because there was no money for the hospitals - it all went towards fighting.

I prayed for peace every day.

After graduating I left Sudan to work and study in the United Kingdom.

Lack of skills

I am studying for my Membership of Royal College of Physician (MRCP) exams and working for the National Health Service (NHS) at a hospital in Portsmouth. After passing my MRCP exams I will begin specialising as a haematologist.

Unless peace is nationwide, it will not be useful at all

I want to go back to Sudan once I have specialised. It's my country and I owe it a lot.

I first studied medicine there and so feel it is only right that I return with my skills. I feel I must pay them back.

Now that the peace deal has been signed, it will be much better and the people need us doctors.

At the moment there is a real lack of haematologists in Sudan and so my skills are needed. I will be able to treat blood diseases and cancers of the blood, such as leukaemia.

I would also like to help with HIV/Aids. As the war carried on for so long and because of the lack of infrastructure in my country, not much is known about the rate or prevalence of HIV/Aids.

Things will improve

In March I am going back to Sudan with my father to visit my extended family for a holiday.

I will return for good after I have written my final examinations next September.

Sudan is a huge country but has a relatively small population, and so I don't think it will be that hard for things to improve once the situation has settled.

I hope that our newly born peace will reflect itself positively and extend to Darfur in western Sudan because personally I think that unless peace is nationwide, it will not be useful at all.

The BBC News website aims to follow Rasha's journey home.

Your comments:

Dr Rasha, it is very good that the peace accord has inspired the spirit of the real Sudanese who have been living and continue to live outside their country, Sudan, to realize that abroad is not the right place for them even though they enjoy whatever type of life there.

In case of those like you who are gaining experiences they hope to carry back home and help build their country which has experienced much destruction because of conflict are the real ones who feel sympathised of that and hope to help their country people through their know how.

The peace accord came for both northerners and southerners to become one people and live in harmony. So, Rasha God help you to finish what you are aiming for and come back home and execute the knowledge you will gain. God bless you and welcome back home.
Alfred Sende Gbandi, Khartoum, Sudan

Good luck Rasha! I wish you all the luck in the world and I will keep your work in my thoughts. I hope you can help many people and make your country a better place for your people.
Cat, St. Louis, MO, USA

Rasha It is wonderful that some of us have realized the need for peace (honest and genuine peace). Sudan has never been independent, but with this peace it's at least I think things will work out well. There are big challenges ahead, that to say development and re-construction of our country that has been devastated by war, bearing in mind that we should make the peace and unity attractive otherwise things will go wrong again. Let's be careful and remember we need to watch out.
Nek Martin, Rumbek, Sudan

Wonderful Rasha! All the best! Lots of Africans I know (including me) are planning to return home to develop our countries. That's the only viable solution. No amount of aid will do it for Africa. I'm sure you'll do very well in Sudan. You're an inspiration. Good luck with your exams!
Ngum Ngafor, Manchester, England

You are an inspiration - choosing to come to a foreign country to develop skills to improve things in your own land is very brave. I taught basic skills for a while and know of several people who hope to do what you are doing - return to their homelands one day when it is safe with new skills to help improve a better life for others. In the meanwhile they are using what they have to make a life here for themselves. Thank you for sharing your story and giving them renewed hope Good luck!
Iola, Leeds, UK

This should be very encouraging for others who may consider going back to their countries wholeheartedly to make a turn around. You are angel. All the best.
Perry, Johannesburg, South Africa

That's good of you Rasha to come back to your home country and help out. Many of you Sudanese should emulate this gesture now that there will be peace in Sudan. The people of Sudan need you to foster development and bring the sense of togetherness.
Solomon Bulaya, Kitwe, Zambia

It sounds all good to hear that someone like Rasha is looking forward to going home. But I have a little concern that she is only going to stay and develop Khartoum. She never talk of helping or going to south Sudan to work there. There are very many like Rasha who only talk like that but don't want to venture out of the north to the south of the country. However, I hope you will live up to what you have already made public. We need action rather than rhetoric. Best regards.
John Pangech, Durban, South Africa

To John Pangech, Durban, South Africa: I really intend to help all Sudan, not just the north. I studied and trained in Khartoum, that's why it was mentioned a lot, but that doesn't mean that I will be stuck there. Don't worry John, we are now one country. Good luck in your life.
Rasha, Portsmouth, UK

It is positive thinking that we need from all African citizens living abroad. Please get educated there and come home to develop mother Africa. Wishing you good luck in your studies and safe return home.
Godwin K Mundenge, Ndola, Zambia

I think you've alluded to a very important point Rasha, the fact that no matter how far we get from Sudan and in spite of all we had to go through there we're all still tightly attached to it. This might surprise those who've never had to be uprooted from their home countries seeking education, employment or just a decent living elsewhere but it's a fact that we all can't deny.

I hope this peace will make it possible for the coming generations to not have to go through what we went through and give all of us a chance to finally come back home!
Amira Siyam, MD, USA

I have no words except may God bless you and I wish that a lot learn from you. As our beloved African man Nelson Mandela said, "there is no an easy walk to freedom...." however there is always a destination that you and Africa will be proud of! Good luck and follow your heart.
Daniel N Aberra, Laramie, WY (Ethiopian)

Yes! Let's go home Rasha. I guess this has been like a dream come true for all of us, after years of life in Diaspora. However, let's hope that we will be given free and fair chances to offer our services to recollect and rebuild our beloved country. By ensuring that lasting peace holds equal rights and opportunities for all. Then the redevelopment will be transparent, fast and efficiently vibrant.
Taban Alex Donato, Sudanese in Australia

Best of luck to you, Rasha! Our country needs as many talented people as possible to return to help develop and improve life for all Sudanese. I also hope to return one day, even though I've spent less than one quarter of my life in Sudan. I'm a northerner (Rubatab tribe from Abu Hamed - please, no Rubatabi jokes!).

My paternal grandmother was from Darfur, so I have distant relatives in western Sudan (and eastern Chad). The deteriorating situation in Darfur has me, and I'm sure all Sudanese, extremely worried. We need for peace to spread to all corners of Sudan so that we can get around to the business of rebuilding our country. My hope is that all Sudanese, from the north, south, east and west, will put aside all of their differences and work together toward that common goal.

I'm afraid of what might happen after the six year transitional period. I hope we remain united but I realize the decision is ultimately for the people of the south to make. They, after all, are the ones who experienced the most misery for the greater part of the last 50 years. If the country should split, I hope it happens peacefully and no new conflicts flare up.
Nizar, San Jose, CA, USA

That's a good idea. I have been so impressed for the decision you're taking sister. I surely will do the same thing for my country and the rest of Africa. It's good thing to do for your own good. May Allah bless you in the process.
Abdul, Toronto, Canada

Well done Rasha. Your wishes for peace are shared by many. Wish you success and happy return home.
Hind Elseed, Havant, Hampshire, UK

I have come across your story by chance, or is it?! I am at present trying to get medical supplies to the Beja people in the east of Sudan, it breaks my heart how little they have asked for and that Panadol is the main source of pain relief for everything. If you need help please contact me.
Catherine Shrigley, New Zealand

What an example is you are. May God help you to fulfil your dream and save you from all dangers down there. I wish all educated Ethiopians living abroad felt the same as you. God bless you
Henok S, Boston, USA

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country, Sudan.
Kwesi, California, USA

Rasha, I must first congratulate you in your endeavours. Your dream of returning home to make significant contribution in your society will be achieved. Please continue the good work for mankind.
Alex Yonly, Minneapolis, USA

A wonderful resume from you Rasha! God willingly you will find peace and prosperity in your homeland. Good luck Doctor.
Bubs, London, UK

Bravo Rasha, we need your services at home and services of every Sudanese so that we rebuild our country and support the peace process so that we realize it all over our country.
Kok Bol Bulabek, Bangor, UK

I think it is very awesome to hear about these Sudanese intentions of helping in rebuilding their country. To be away is good but home is best but in some cases the reverse is the solution. I met several Sudanese immigrants/refugees in Sweden and when they narrated their ordeals, I was blown away. However I commend the United Nations and all organisations that have made the peace accord fruitful in Sudan.

The latest development will provide renewed hope and future for the country and lastly thanks to these good hearted Sudanese who are willing to sacrifice their comfort zones abroad and return home. They have actually taken a cue from what they can do for their country and not what their country can do for them. Good luck guys.
John, California, USA

It's rare that we hear about migrants to the UK going home to use skills learned here, normally it's all the other way. Good luck, you're very brave.
Jon, London, UK


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