National Geographic : 1924 Jan
44 THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE exchanged: "Keif halak? Taiybin! El hamd el Allah. Maa-salaamih." (How are you? Well! Praise be to God. Go with safety.) Ghostly voices coming out of the night! Early in the small hours the moon dis appeared, leaving momentarily a red glow in a haze of palest lilac. For the next hour or so, there being no competitor, the stars shone with renewed splendor on the darkened world, and once or twice a < meteor shot half across the heavens, leav 0 ing a trail of fire. Toward 6 o'clock the east was flooded by palest rose pink, and W a few minutes later the sun was up. The d spell was over, life became real again, and I instinctively felt for my helmet and looked round for a place to camp. 0 BUILDING IN TOPSY-TURVY LAND v Um Kedada, which was a military base for our army on the march up to El SFasher early in the year, stands on high z ground with a fair outlook, surrounded by escarpments of low-lying hills. Its - chief call to fame is a most excellent ( water supply-an invaluable asset! The g well, broad and fairly deep, is lined with a rough stone halfway down, and was dug z many years ago at the instigation of an old sultan, who made a chain of wells leading into Kordofan to assist his raid i ing parties, which periodically sallied forth after his neighbors' cattle. The Sold method of lining is now, alas, a lost art among these people. It is difficult adequately to picture what a well means until one has lived near the SSahara. In my 300 miles I passed two Q places only where there were any, and on 2 my arrival at Um Kedada I had been for o, six days subsisting on what water I could carry on my camels; they had been all that time without a drink. p Greetings made to all assembled at the well, animals watered, and men rested, I looked round for a convenient place to build a temporary house. In a land of opposites, where one writes from right to left, takes off one's shoes and leaves the hat on when entering a house, we naturally begin building at the roof and build downward. Native tukls, or huts, are made from dried millet stalks and are shaped like straw beehives, but are finished at the top with little tufts.