Sunday, March 14, 2010

Toddlers/ Toubab on Parade

Sundays are usually very chill days here at the Gaye house, but today we had a million visitors. Luckily I got a run in before people started coming over, but I didn't quite finish cleaning my room before the masses came over so everyone got a good laugh out of the toubab doing housework. Most of the time Jeenaba's, Deenba's, and Khady's friends are the people who come over, but today it seemed to be anyone in the neighborhood who has small children.

In the United States when a young child has chicken pox you take your kids over so they get chicken pox at the same time. Today, I felt like a virus. It really seemed like everyone was bringing their kids over to meet the neighborhood toubab. It was fairly hilarious. The stream of toddlers came and went as I was cleaning my room and was a sweaty mess so that probably didn't give them the best impression of toubabs and could be one of the reasons why so many of them cried. I accidentally caught one off guard as I came out of the bathroom and he literally sat in a glob of chicken poop and started sobbing uncontrollably. A set of twins also came over to see me and they kept wanting to shake my hand and just could not understand why the white of my skin wasn't coming off on their hands.

The best part about this parade of toddlers was Ahmed's and his friend's reactions. For the past couple of months, ever since Ahmed and I have become besties, Ahmed thinks he it awesome because he's friends with the toubab, the toubab gives him toys, and he's not afraid of the toubab. One of his little friends has recently come around because I got him his own notebook so he and Ahmed can color at the same time. Well, the two of them were trying to tell the little kids that I was nice and that they could play with me. The toddlers weren't buying it and most of them continued to scream at the sight of me and then gaze in wonder as I mopped my floor.

Cleaning my room was the only productive thing I did all day. Other than that I watched some terrible Wolof television, watched Mad Men on my computer, and talked with Deenba and her boyfriend who are obsessed with my upcoming trip and we cracking themselves up making lots of side comments and innuendo about my trip. They are really funny.

The night ended with a great family fight. Jeenaba and Deenba were giving my mom a hard time about being lazy. Most of the time I would agree, although she raised a house full of kids so she's earned it, but we haven't really had water for the past week and last night I woke up at 4am to the sound of water because my mom had stayed up until 4am waiting for the water to come on. She then stayed up until 5:30 trying to fill our containers as the water slowly dripped out of the spigot. My getting into the fight made everyone laugh and the fight devolved into chaos when my mom flicked a spoonful of millet and milk at Jeenaba. This was my cue to turn in for the night.


  1. Alyssa,

    It is amazing that families are the same everywhere. You should be proud to be the token toubob, they couldn't find a better example.


  2. Yeah!!! I am so proud that throughout this blog you have recognized the hard labor of the women you live with. It sounds like your mom runs a tight ship good for you for giving her props!