It's becoming trendy in Senegal not to answer my phone calls. This morning neither Dioss nor his mom picked up so I decided to stay at home and get some work done. Usually when I have a lot of computer work to do I go to a restaurant in town because whenever I'm in my room my family thinks I'm sleeping and therefore a complete waste of life. This morning I put the final touches on the artisan expo location, worked on the artisan expo grant and the promotional material, and replied to emails that have been sitting in my in-box for forever, but my family still asked why I slept so late. Ugh. I did feel very productive so I was OK it their lack of understanding. Although they can hear me when I talk on the phone so I'm unsure how they can possibly think I'm sleeping. Because I didn't go anywhere this morning I had the chance to sit around with Deenba for a long time and now almost feel like I'm in the know.
Deenba and I sat around cooking and cutting onions for much of the morning. I took the opportunity to grill her about Jeenaba's upcoming nuptials. Evidentially baby daddy is quite well off because he's going to Mecca this year for the hadj. Going to Mecca is an unbelievably big deal. There is no experience in the US I can equate it to. He'll be gone for a month for the pilgrimage and when he comes home everyone will throw him parties because it's an honor to have someone who has gone to Mecca at your house. He can also add "al-hadji" to his name signifying he has been to Mecca. Jeenaba had told me that they are going to get married after Tabaski, which is a week before Thanksgiving, but after Tabaski means at least December or January since her fiancé will be in Saudi Arabia.
Since we were talking about weddings I took the opportunity to ask Deenba about her boyfriend and when she gets married. Please read the following conversation reenactment knowing that I always try to be a strong, badass, independent woman here and try to convince my Senegalese female friends around me to delay marriage and go to school for as long as possible. Deenba isn't going to return to school, but she doesn't need babies while her boyfriend has a part time furniture upholstery job.
Me: Jeenaba is getting married soon. When are you going to get married?
Deenba: When are YOU going to get married?
Me: I'm still a child not for a long time.
Deenba: I'm still a child too. You are older than me. When are you getting married?
Me: I don't want to get married until I'm 30.
Deenba: Yeah, I want to get married in a year too.
Me: How old do you think I am? (in an extremely exasperated tone)
Deenba: Twenty-eight or twenty-nine.
Me: No. I'm only twenty-three.
Deenba: Well, I'm still younger than you.
Me: (shaking head in despair, knowing that I can't win)
Seriously, I do not look like I'm pushing thirty. I'm going to chalk it up to the fact that she can't tell how old toubabs are. Or at least I'm going to pray that's what's up!
The other big family event of the day was the discussion of Ahmed's birthday. I wrote about his birthday last January because that's when Khady told me it was. Nope. Actually, it's October 30th and they are planning a real party for him including cake, friends, and music and I'm a terrible person and am going to miss it. I was so upset yesterday that I had to call my mom in the States and all of my friends for emotional support. I thought they were all going to tell me to come back for the party. Ahmed is my fiancé after all. They reminded me that most Senegalese parties are anti-climatic, it might not actually happen, and that since all of his little friends will be there Ahmed wont even care if I'm there. It's me that will care. I thought my family would be so upset with me, but when I told them they totally didn't care. Still feeling unbelievably guilty about leaving my BFF on his birthday I offered to buy ice cream for the event, which I did this afternoon. I also promised Ahmed presents and all of my Halloween candy on Sunday. He seemed fine with the trade. My absence for candy and presents? Yeah, he totally took the bribe. I still feel badly though!
Other than hanging out with the fam' I did end up getting a hold of Dioss and his mom this afternoon so I stopped by both of their houses to check in and talk about artisan expo before going to buy Ahmed two gallons of chocolate ice cream. I'm such a pushover.
Messy, but Warm
8 months ago