Thursday, August 30, 2012


I spent Korité, the feast day celebrating the end of Ramadan, in Salémata with my host family. I woke up, puttered around, got my complet outfit out, and waited for my host brothers to pound the big drum, signaling tat it's time for everyone who's going to the mosque to get a move on.

The drum, warming in the sun
 After mosque I walked around the compound, greeting people, being greeted, and taking photos of everyone's new clothes. My host cousin, Bineta wanted photos of both her new outfits, and we all took turns posing with my host sister's baby, little Fatou.

 Fatou's mother, Mariama Kesso, was busy all morning with food prep and cooking. We had steamed fonio (grown, processed and sold by host moms' women's group), meat, and an amazing vegetable-heavy onion sauce made with the onions, cabbage, carrots, and bitter eggplant that I brought in from town as my contribution to the family celebration.

Dinner prep under the mango tree

 After lunch, dinner prep started and the greeting continued. My host mothers Saliou Njan and Mariama wanted photos of their new outfits, and my neighbors Tatiana and Jess came by to visit and greet everyone, hold the babies and admire all the new outfits.

Adama and Fatou
 I also took a few pictures with Diabou, the stubborn, clever girl who was extremely slow to warm to me after I moved in, but who is now a great little friend. She refuses to accept having her hair braided (I can't blame her, it looks like it hurts, especially at first) so they're still shaving her head.

 After all that it was time to go greet people all around the village. I went greeting in a little group with Mariama Kesso, Fatou, and Diouma, the little girl in the blue and gold. Since the bridge to the far side of town was thoroughly washed out we picked out way along the creek bed, looking for a suitably shallow and solid place to cross.

Crossing the gulan (taro root?) field
 After a wonderful dinner of warm bread, spicy beans, flavorful yellow potatoes, and onion-y meat sauce I went to turn in at a reasonable hour and greatly relieved that the Ramadan schedule of dinner at 10:30 or 11 o'clock at night. Before I got to sleep, though, my host sister Kindi and her friend popped in to pose (sprawled out on my bed) for one last round of photos.

All in all it was a lovely holiday and it left me looking forward to the Tabaski celebration we'll have in October. 

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