Wednesday, September 30, 2009



Last Sunday and Monday were the Muslim celebration of the end of Ramadan, which ends their 30 days of fasting.

According to the web:

“Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Every day during this month, Muslims around the world spend the daylight hours in a complete fast.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslims all over the world abstain from food, drink, and other physical needs during the daylight hours. It is supposed to be a time to purify the soul, refocus attention on God, and practice self-sacrifice,

Muslims are called upon to use this month to re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance. They are to make peace with those who have wronged them, strengthen ties with family and friends, do away with bad habits -- essentially to clean up their lives, thoughts, and feelings. The Arabic word for "fasting" (sawm) literally means "to refrain" - and it means not only refraining from food and drink, but from evil actions, thoughts, and words.”

Miriama and her new set of clothes for Ramadan. I am amazed to see it is white. How in the world will they keep it clean? I can’t keep my whites clean and I live in a cement house with cupboards and not a straw hut with dirt floors. Wow. The outfit was very beautiful with great embroidery. This outfit probably cost about $25 and she saved for months for it. Part of me is sad to see them save and spend of things such as fancy clothes rather than food or education, but I also know it is important for their religion and culture and moral too.

The women all dressed up!

Little girls who came to visit with their hair all beautifully braided and with bobbles and stuff braided right in. I have thought several times I would like to do this with Arielle’s hair, but I think it is still too fragile and I am afraid this process would pull it all out!

More children all squeaky clean and dressed up in their best clothes.

I loved this boys outfit. He is about 7 years old and he was wearing a suit all day. The suit was several sizes too big and the tie was held together at the top with a safety pin since it was so ripped. He was so proud of his new clothes and looked so sweet!

Bennett enjoyed the opportunity to play some soccer with some of the local kids. This is him and El Hadi, the youngest brother of Miriama. They had such a great time. Arielle joined in for a while too, but mostly preferred to sit and snack on all the food the whole time!



Special food!

We ate a lot this day! At Miriama’s house we shared a traditional meal with baked corn bread, sauce, couscous and tea. It was all very good! Our neighbour family had pots of food out. After they all ate, the kids grabbed large stocks of millet and began roasting them over coal out front of the house. It looked just like roasting corn on the cob. The heated it up and held it over the hot coals until it got brown, then they shucked it off into a bowl and munched on the roasted grain pieces. Paul and I tried some and it was quite tasty, like roasted nuts. Yum!

Sorry we didn’t get a family shot in our clothes. Here is Bennett hamming it up for the camera, Paul lounging in the background in the right (wearing the matching outfit) and Arielle playing in the sand in the background on the left and Laila leaning against the hut pole.

What a great day we had visiting all of our friends, and we were very tired when we came home after 9 hours of visiting!

We also found this to be a wonderful time of sharing ideas about culture and celebrations and Religion. This day is somewhat like our Christmas day, and many stories and cultural observations were exchanged with our friends. People were very open to share that day too.

Happy end of Ramadan!


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