Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why Are We Having a Party?

The past couple of days I've heard phrases like "ten chickens," "going to the big market," and "getting fired wood," these are all phrases which cause alarm bells to go off loudly in my head. They mean we're having some sort of party. Noooo!!!! I thought that if I ignored the situation it might just go away. No such luck. This morning Jeenaba and Khady were up early starting the cleaning process and and then my mom asked if I'd like to go to the market and help her and Khady do all the shopping for the event. Since I plan to spend the vast majority of tomorrow hiding from the party in my room, I thought that it would be a nice show of support and some nice family bonding time if I went to the market.

I actually enjoy going to the market with my mom and Khady for big events because they are hilarious and generally abuse the vendors. They know what price they want to pay and the vendor is going to have hell to pay if they don't get it. While inspecting vegetables Khady proclaims everything as ugly and half dead. Don't even think about putting that shriveled cucumber in the bag, Khady will kick your a@#! Other than the humor of watching my mom and Khady haggle with people I get to see which vendors they deem in high enough standard for them to shop there and they get to see just a little bit of what it's like to be me and walk around the market. The number of Talibe, small children who beg, balloons when they see me (the toubab), people are constantly coming up and trying to sell me things, and I just get generally heckled most of the time. My mom was obviously annoyed and they both kept asking me if this was normal. I told them it was better because I was at least with them! Three hours later we headed back home.

What is this party for you ask? Well, isn't that a convoluted story I still don't understand. My mom explained it to me, but I don't think I have all the pieces straight. Apparently, Cheikh is not my host parents' biological child like I thought he was. I think what happened was that Cheikh's parents couldn't take care of him when he was little so they sent him to live with my family and he grew up a part of my family. This is not an uncommon arrangement and is a lot like adoption in the United States. So, Cheikh's brother (I guess they share the same dad, but not the same mom) is getting married tomorrow and we are having some sort of reception although not the big reception. Then Cheikh's brother and his new bride will stay at our house for two days until they move into their own house. I know that this is good information because it came from my mom, but I still don't know what's happening. Also, where is Cheikh's wife. Regardless, we are having a party tomorrow and I'm sure that it will be miserable and that I will be hot and uncomfortable in my fancy Senegalese outfits.

After going to the market and attempting to figure out the purpose of this party, I spent the afternoon with Abdou and Ahmed. All of the women were busy prepping the food so I was on baby duty. I love the fact that they don't trust me enough to cut onions, but I can take care of a baby for half the day no problem. We didn't have power from 5am to 7:30pm and we haven't had water in days so it should make for a very interesting party tomorrow.

A couple of questions post on my blog:
1. What else did I get my family?
My host mom and dad got really classy watches, Ahmed got his glorious boots and a coloring book, all of the girls got mascara and a little bottle of lotion, and all of the boys received Michigan hats (they were on clearance after our abysmal bowl showing), which they love and wear all of the time.

2. Why is Ahmed not wearing a Michigan t-shirt is his awesome ensemble from yesterday?
The post is titled "Fashion Risk Taker," and a Michigan t-shirt is never a fashion risk - it's always a good thing. And unfortunately he doesn't have a Michigan t-shirt (Matt will have to bring him one!), but he does have a Michigan hat which he loves to wear and which was documented early on in my blog!


  1. Ha! the are placed with a family of professional shoppers!!!!!

  2. Ahmed can have my Michigan T-shirt from the "Appalachian State" season... I think it is sized appropriately based on his affinity for knee-length t-shirts!

  3. those are good presents - especially the mich hats!


  4. Alyssa,

    Cutting onions is serious business. We don't joke about that. Before our luncheon, your mom and I had a serious talk about whether or not to let you cut the onions for the chili. I had to watch you like a hawk while I made the sangria.