What I remember most from my days in the Khalwa, are the whips on my back and the sweet taste of sugarcane.
Assembled into the roof of our hut, and protecting us from the sun, we ate the sugarcane not only for its taste, but to answer hunger’s call. And we were usually punished -whipped-for doing that.
I remember when my brother vanished for three days after throwing a stone at the Sheikh. Most of my memories from Khalwa are bitter.
700 years ago, there were two religious pilots competing for control of Sudan. One of them is the Maliki's scholar who rejects the presence of boys in mosques, and the other one is the elders "Shikhs" of Sufism.
Sufis founded the idea of the Khalwa in search of inner peace. They created such spaces next to mosques to remove themselves from the crowd, little did they know that such retreats would become ghosts for some kids.
(2017 - 2019)