Friday, June 13, 2008

Life’s little pleasures (Part III)

Each year, Kerewan celebrates the 24 hour reading of the Koran, Quoran karango. This year the holiday was held in May. I assumed this as a truly religious day, where people go to the mosque, sit, and listen or recite the holy Koran. What I say was yet another aspect of this culture being corrupted by western and hip hop culture. All relatives come back from the city or aboard. They come in their flashy cars, SUVs, Jeeps, BMW and Mercedes sedans, wearing their flashy jeans and sneakers, talking on their flashy sleek mobile. The women wear the most expensive fabrics and embroidery with metallic gold or silver pointy heals and matching clutch. All to just go to the mosque for a couple hours, undoubtedly to show off their wealth. Yet another day of prayer corrupted by materialism. The funny part of this all was:
Seeing four 60-70 year old men wearing their Muslim kaftans, with the traditional Muslim cap, riding in a gleaming gold Jeep Cherokee blasting gansta hip hop music.

Muhammed, the five year son of city relatives walked around the compound hold a skinned, sheeps head by its nostrils. It oozed fresh blood and the eyes balls were still intact

While judging the regional girl’s scholarship pageant, the DJ blasted Britney’s, “Toxic,” for the intermission. At that moment I looked over and saw twenty men performing their five o’clock prayer.

On yet another interminably hot afternoon Carson says to me, “Don’t rub my back, it’s sticky and it will chafe.”

Our twelve year old host brother comes to the door asking, “Where’s the book of Obama?” In reference to the Newsweek with a picture of Obama on the cover.

Seeing a baby donkey just after birth trying to take its first steps while walking to school.

Having to stop for the herd of cows to cross while on my morning run.

Seeing a Fula nomad, wearing a turban, chya pants, and all walking his cow over the bridge while talking on a razor phone.

Play fighting with Amie while fetching water at the pump. This time her three year old son, Moo Lamin, came up defending his mom by kicking me in the shins and spitting on me. It was hilarious!

The first rain on June 1st! Carson and I ran out with the kids to play in the rain. We jumped in puddles, let our feet squish around in the mud, and eventually were soaked to the bone. Of course all the adults in the compound thought we were crazy… again. That day it was brutally humid with the temp spiking at 110. When the rain came the temperature dropped to 80 degrees and we were freezing!

Watching Carson come alive when he’s out of the stifling heat. It’s like Popeye after popping a can of spinach.

Thanks to Carson, our host brother Karama has memorized his multiplication tables. Most grade twelve students don’t even know them.

Lying on the cement bantaba (like a gazebo without a roof) at night with Aja and the kids watching the stars. The kids around me are almost all asleep with the bit of relief the night brings after yet another hot day. Sometimes I wish they would turn off the outdoor light so I could soak in all the constellations. But why turn off a light with the town’s power station is on?

At night on the bantaba Aja and I talk about anything and everything. Just a couple of days ago I explained how fast planes fly: rather it taking six hours to get to Dakar from Banjul, it takes only a half hour. It takes six hours to get to Europe, and another twelve to get to America. At the moment she understood how far America truly was. For an uneducated women, she is so smart and sharp.

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