Thursday, March 4, 2010

Here are pictures from the baptism!

The day started with friends and family filtering in throughout the morning, saying their hellos and finding places to sit and people to talk to. Everyone got very dressed up, especially my immediate family, with fancy clothes makeup, and doing their hair. My family got a dress made for me too so that I fit in a little better than usual.

We got the baby ready, much of which was just picking out a cute little dress for her to wear and changing her diaper. She was dressed in a very western dress which I found surprising considering a baptism is a very traditional and important religious practice. Ami, the baby’s mother was the most dressed up, with my other sisters fussing about her outfit and fixing her hair. All the men and the older women gathered in the salon and the baby was taken out there. But my sisters and I did not follow. We simply sat and chatted and after about 20 minutes, the baby was brought back. Her head was shaved and she had very thick eyebrows painted on. Apparently she had already been baptized and named. But her mother and aunts weren’t even there. I found it surprising that, for the baptism and naming of a female child especially, the mother and aunts weren’t involved. I had no idea the actual event was even taking place. So much for really experincing the baptism but gender seperation is something I've had to get use to in Senegal and the mere inability to experince the actual event was a cultural experience in an of itself.

The rest day consisted tons chatting, eating, chating and eating some more. You should see all the food they made, we had Lakk in the morning, a millet porriage thing with milky yogurt on top. It's sounds wierd but is abslutely delicious. My host mom ordered donuts from our neighbor who's a cook so we ate those between lakk and lunch. For lunch, my brothers slaughtered an entire sheep which is a tadition for baptisms. I refrained form putting those pictures up but if your interested, I do have them and can shot you an email :) I had to sit by the corpse all through lunch, it was an interesting experince to say the least. There was enough lamb, rice and vegetables to feed and army an that's abot how many people we had in our house.

I got to meet tons of exteded family members and friends and had fun practicing my Wolof. Senegalesegathering are mainly just about spending time together and that's what I did. I just sat and chatted, played with the kids and helped where I could. It's interesting, but after the baptism, there was little to know gender seperation. Everyone ate together and hungout together, which is not always the case. My good friend Elke who is the academic year verson of my program was in town and since we share the same host family in Dakar, she was able to be there too wich was a blast! Another student, Johanna, who lives literally a stones throw away also joined us for the festivities. My family is so welcoming and so great, it's always fun to get to share them with other students and friends.

That's all I have time to update today but more to come!



  1. Hi Kaela! It's Fran! Thanks so much for your descriptive accounts of your adventures! That unbaptism experience is really a story! ... And how did the lamb taste? Dan Murphy says that lamb is "supposed" to be cooked very rare. I was served a rare piece once and I asked the waiter to take it back to the kitchen and cook it! Your host family sounds like they have a lot of that "McConnon welcoming spirit"! Good luck with your wolof. Fran

  2. Hey Kaela! Glad to hear you are doing well!

    That is so cool that you have found a fun place to learn a new kind of salsa...perfect!

    And the baptism sounds like a very interesting experience. I can't believe that the mother and aunts aren't even there during the actual baptism! Do you know the name of the baby yet?

    I am also interested to hear more about the sheep. How close were you sitting to it? When did they slaughter it?

    Well, we miss you and will be thinking about you even more next Saturday when we will miss your presence at the St. Patty's Day party.

    Take care! Katie

  3. Sounds like quite a day, Kaela. The pictures are great as always, but the one with the woman looking through the window frame is just lovely. I'm not sure if that's Ami, or another relative, but the lacey curtain and dress, and her looking off to the side framed by the window-wow, it's a great pic. Grandpa would be proud of that one (your others too, of course).

    When you experience where food comes from- in a very visceral way before and as you eat it - it changes the experience- doesn't it?

    Love to you- Maura

  4. So awesome to hear from you! Glad to know that the eyebrows were painted on, haha, I thought that looked so funny! I'm g-chatting with you right now so I won't write too much, but I just had to post to complete the Roby family fan club.
    Love you!

  5. Hi Kaela,
    You are loved!
    Jerry, Megan and I just spent 10 days in Monterey, CA where Sean and Cecelia live.
    Megan was on Spring Break. It was great. Visiting Yosemite was the best. I didn't have my computer along so I couldn't acess your blog.
    The dress they made for you looks beautiful
    and the dance party really sounds fun.
    Enjoy your Spring Break-it sounds live even more new experiences.