Sudanese Lecturer Finds Home Away from Home in South Africa Amidst Civil War


Abdualmoniem's life-changing experience in a foreign land became a tale of humanity, generosity, and friendship.

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Abdualmoniem Omer Abdalla, a PhD student in Gezira University, and a lecturer in Medical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, Kassala University, arrived in South Africa on April 10, 2023, for what was initially intended to be a two-week trip. He was among 37 fellows from 18 different countries who attended a two-week workshop at the Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI), at the Tygerberg facility of Stellenbosch University. However, as intense clashes between Sudan's military and the main paramilitary force escalated, Abdualmoniem found himself stranded in a foreign land, unable to return home to his wife and two children. Amidst uncertainty, Abdualmoniem's life-changing experience in a foreign land became a tale of humanity, generosity, and friendship.

As the situation in his homeland worsened, Abdualmoniem's hopes of reuniting with his family dwindled. However, a ray of hope appeared in the form of Professor Tulio de Oliveira, a compassionate individual with a heart for helping others. Upon learning about Abdualmoniem's predicament, de Oliveira extended a helping hand, offering a three-month grant to support him during these difficult times.

'It was a moment of pure kindness that restored my faith in humanity,' Abdualmoniem shared. 'Professor Tulio's generosity gave me the courage to face the challenges that lay ahead.'

During his extended stay in South Africa, Abdualmoniem found solace and support from a new family at CERI, where the staff welcomed him with open arms. Despite being thousands of miles away from his loved ones, their kindness and compassion made him feel at home.

'I felt like I was part of something greater than myself,' Abdualmoniem recalled. 'Their kindness and support were heartwarming.'

Beyond emotional support, the staff at CERI recognized Abdualmoniem's potential and took it upon themselves to mentor and train him extensively in laboratory techniques, advanced bioinformatics, and genome sequencing of pathogens. This ignited his passion for research and molecular biology.

'They became my mentors and friends,/' Abdualmoniem said gratefully. 'Their encouragement and guidance were invaluable as I delved into the captivating world of scientific research.'

As the weeks turned into months, Abdualmoniem's bond with his new family at CERI grew stronger. Despite differences in their backgrounds, they connected through their shared love for science and a common goal to make a positive impact on society.

'My time in South Africa has given me the tools and motivation to contribute to society in a meaningful way,' Abdualmoniem declared. 'I may leave this place physically, but the memories and lessons will stay with me forever.'

Abdualmoniem's journey to South Africa began with doubt and dread but quickly evolved into a story of humanity, generosity, and friendship. Now, armed with knowledge, friendship, and a heart full of gratitude, he returns to his home country with the determination to make a difference in the world and cherish the beautiful moments and friendships he found in South Africa.

News date: 2023-08-04

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