Saturday, August 14, 2010

Baby On Board

Jeenaba is pregnant. Or at the very least I'm 99.9999% sure she's pregnant. I've been noticing a little pooch on her for a while, but she's so thin I kept trying to tell myself that she was just gaining a little weight and that that was a good thing. No longer does it look like a little extra baggage... it looks like a baby's about to pop out. In the past week she's really popped out. This morning I was sitting with Jeenaba as she was making a ton of beignes for both the break fast and my family's early morning meal. She kept trying to get me to eat some and I kept refusing because I didn't want to eat in front of people who were fasting and then she popped on in her mouth and said she wasn't fasting this year.

Women in Senegal don't talk about their pregnancies like American women do; they believe it's bad luck and it's taboo to ask about it, but you can joke about it. Peace Corps taught us to discuss pregnancy in a round about way like by saying that some ate all of the rice at lunch or swallowed a soccer ball. I attempted to make theses jokes when Khady broke into the conversation and called me a hick for using those jokes, but she didn't say that Jeenaba wasn't pregnant. This only piqued my interest because I've been suspecting Jeenaba's been with child for a while. She's been wearing wrap skirts as tube dresses recently so I haven't been able to get a good look at her tummy.

This afternoon as I was creepily watching Jeenaba sweep the courtyard from my room she re-wrapped her dress and I saw her stomach. She's definitely preggers, which makes me really sad since she's not married to her boyfriend and I haven't heard anything about wedding plans - although we all know how in the loop my family keeps me! Now I'm interested to know how far along she is. Her belly is big and she's a tiny, tiny girl. I probably have a good 20-30 pounds on her. I'm sad for Jeenaba because I have no idea what will happen to her. She's not Khady in the respect that her parents have money and standing and I don't know if the family will accept her "bastard" child like Ahmed has been accepted or what will happen. I also have no idea how long she'll continue living with and working for us. I'm also a little sad for me because I don't want to hear a wailing baby all the time. Ahmed is enough.

Other than staring at Jeenaba's mid-section for most of the day I also counted and did quality control for all of Dioss' cards. It looks we are good to go. My family also is out of water again. We haven't had water in 5 days and Deenba was hauling water today as she fasted. She never ceases to impress me. I also noticed that big Ahmed appears to be growing a soul patch: it's not becoming...


  1. Alyssa,

    It is amazing that some of the bad US customs can make it all the way to Africa, i.e. the soul patch. Interesting that no one talks about the possible new addition, or exclude you which must be what is happening. It doesn't seem that your parents would not know and begin planning on a new person to do a lot of the work.


  2. Ohhhhhhhhhhh noooooooo! This cannot be good for Jeneeba. I'm not sure I agree that there would be a family discussion that excluded you. I think everybody knows and with a glance and a wink nothing else needs to be said. Most cultures are not baby obsessed like we are and it's true many do not discuss a baby openly before it's born because the mortality rates are so high.
    Please talk with Peace Corps to determine if there is any support you can give her.
    BTW if Khady is so high falutin tell her to have a sophisticated conversation with you about the pregnancy instead of flinging put downs. She can't have it both ways.
    When is Dioss's art headed to US? Any news about the calendar?