Well, the holidays came and went full of bittersweet celebrations with new friends. Starting the celebrations my sister had a wedding party in a neighboring village. We all got dressed up, loaded up in the back of this truck, and took off.
Maybe 12 women total in the back of the truck? On the way back, everyone took off their shoes and put them in a bucket. I couldn’t get a straight answer for why.
The Beautiful Bride and her under-dressed friend at a very Senegalese-angle (think Myspace era aesthetics)
Christmas was a great time including killing and cooking a chicken, eating a LOT of cookies, pumpkin bread, salads, mac n cheese, mulled wine, tapalapa — basically my dream weekend. It wasn’t easy being away from home, but thanks to Skype, letters, presents and Christmas decorations from home and the company of my wonderful fellow volunteers, we all made it through.
Our Christmas card featuring chicken feet (Christmas dinner) and canned snow (courtesy of my lovely mother)
I rang in the “New Years” like this at 8 pm and then peacefully slept through the turn of 2013 with a belly full of sparkling grape juice. Wild night, eh?
Believe it or not, this was the most flattering of all the self-portraits I took, though it may give a skewed perception of my enthusiasm of spending New Years Eve alone in my room
Then the next morning it was off to the Maggal Touba– a huge annual pilgrimage one of the Islamic brotherhoods takes– at 5am, which means 730 am SenegalTime. They celebrate the exile of their leader with a ton of eating and drinking (soft drinks) and, for the women, at least, gossiping while lounging in rooms covered wall to wall with mattresses to accommodate all the guests descending on the city.
My mom in her Crayola Dress. And me with a prayer scarf on my shoulders -you have to cover your head as a woman in Touba when you go outside
Street corner of Touba. Note the megaphones on the corner. The covered the city chanting/singing nonstop along with these posters everywhere of the brotherhood leader
Then, just a few near-death incidents later….involving donkey carts, speed bumps on highways, a fenderbender, clouds of dust requiring medical-grade masks, stand still traffic, unmarked lanes, engine trouble (maybe battery related?), subsequent pushing of the car down the street, and getting lost once……..We made it back to the house alive! And, kids, that’s how I started 2013.