Sunday, October 14, 2007


I found a cybercafe that has American keyboards and now it's even harder to type now that I'm used to the French style.

Yesterday we celebrated Korite, which is the holiday on the last day of Ramadan. Ramadan is cool because it really reminds the entire society to God...constantly. The marabouts, Muslim religious leaders, chant and sing God's name so many times per day to remind people to think of God.

Korite is the first day that they break the Ramadan fast. It's really a time when people eat all day, then party all night. The night before, the official breaking of the fast, Moussa and I went to the local European grocery store, Elton, and bought MAGNUM ice cream bars to celebrate. Oh man. I had the white chocolate and Hannah you were right...they are incredible. I have joined the ranks of Mangum lovers everywhere.

The next morning I woke up late, then ate a breakfast of laax, which is a porridge type meal made of millet, with a peanut butter sauce on top. Ironic, because I gave up peanut butter for Ramadan. Then I helped my mom Kel and the servants make lunch. I sat around some and read until we all ate chicken and frenchfries and salad around the bowl. They brought out the fancy mat for the holiday and we even had Coke and Fanta. The Senegalese are obsessed with Fanta. The whole day I was anticipating putting on my new bubu, the korite dress I bought. After lunch, however, we just sat around more. I ended up taking a 2 hour nap. (I know...Cath napping? It really was a special day). Finally Megan Alaska and Mactar came over. Mactar is Moussa's best friend and Megan is toubab from alaska who is a rotary scholar staying with his family. She's way cool and I can see us being good friends. I finally dressed up and we did what all the rest of the Senegalese were doing- walked around the neighborhood, greeting friends and neighbors. THe little kids go around asking for money-it's kind of like Haloween but with cash. The adults walk around mostly, I think, to show off their new outfits. There was a Bayfall drum circle playing wild djembes in my neighborhood, so I danced and tried to get the rest of the neighborhood girls on their feet. It was a good time, when the neighborhood's old lady got up and did a smart little two-step. It was ballin'.

Korite is the holiday when people ask for pardon from each other for offenses they have committed during the year. There is a set of words that everybody greets each toerh with, that makes the asking of pardons lose all meaning. If you say "Ball maa aq" and "Yow nanu Yallah bolle ball", you are asking your neighbor to forgive you and practice profound grace, but everybody uses those words just like they're saying, "What up?" It's an interesting concept.

We walked home and hung out some more. Later we had a little dinner of egg roll type things..made specifically with rice wrappers for me. After that, all the girls from my program came over to my house as well as some of Moussa's friends and we hung out and talked and danced on the terrace until about 3 am when I could take it no longer and had to go to bed. I'm such a toubab. We ate and drank more on the terrace and some of the girls went out to a club. It was rad seeing them all glammed up in their Korite dresses and fulars. Pictures coming soon.

Jill and I decided that Korite is a lot like Christmas day, except we dont' get presents and there's no egg nog. It represents something important and symbolic in a major religion, but theres just a lot of eating and sitting around and socializing. Korite was hilariously anticlimatic, but happy.

Oh sad news, my host dad has malaria. He's alright, but the Imam, the most holy of muslim leaders here, came to visit. He really has a commanding presence. However, I did see him pull a Razor phone out from underneath his big robes and say "What's up?"

I should leave this cybercafe soon, though. The kid next to me is looking at porn and Today I am going surfing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Woo!

Dewenati, everyone. Until next year.

Fekkel dewen. Until your next year.

Baal ma aq. Will you forgive me?

Baal naa la. Baal ma. I will forgive you. WIll you Forgive me?

Yall nanu Yallah bolle ball. You are forgiven, in God's name.


Elizabeth said...

Start doing pushups for surfing.

Trust me on that one.

casam said...

So... MAGNUM as in large, or Mangum as in brand? You used both spellings, and I am officially confused. Anyone can help me out here.