Monday, August 22, 2011

Ramadan

when kyle and i arrived here in africa we knew we would be coming during the rainy/hot season and we were mentally prepared for the heat and mosquitos. 4 cans of bug spray, bug repellent clothing for each family member and raincoats were readily packed. we both agreed that we would rather have "the worst" at the beginning, knowing that things could only get better.
however, what we didnt know was that 3 days into the trip (is 11months still considered a trip?) ramadan would start. this truly does make our arrival possibly "the worst" time to get settled in. since senegal is roughly 90% muslim, most everyone partakes in ramadan to some extent.
Ramadan from faith's perspective...
is a month long time when muslims fast in daylight hours...fasting from food and drink and other worldly pleasures.
it rotates on a lunar schedule so this year is especially difficult due to the hot and long days.
apparently muslims can get quite cranky in the afternoon, so you need to mind your p's and q's. (whatever those are)

anyways, it has been interesting to observe...there is a call to prayer 5 times a day (according to my Christian Worldviews teacher/husband). it is not unusual to walk in to our apt building and have our guard doing his prayers on his prayer mat at the base of our stairs. for some reason charlie seems to find this the most opportune time to continually yell hi to him.
we (non-muslims) also need to be respectful of the muslims and only eat indoors and not out in public. while driving to the beach with some friends last weekend, we got lost so we had to hide our pastries we were devouring while we asked some locals for directions so as not to upset them.
apparently the strict muslims dont even swallow their saliva. i have seen a couple spitters!
even though fasting during daylight is protocol, the night is apparently a different story. more food is sold during ramadan here than any other month.

So the worst is just about over...approx. 10 more days and we will see the senegalese as their happy eating and drinking selves! 
bon app├ętit-madame faith

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