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!