SO many celebrations!!!

I know it’s been a really long time since I updated my blog but I’ve been really busy lately. First there was Tabaski, this is a celebration that Muslims have 40 days after the last day of Ramadan. Last year for Tabaski I was already in Kedougou but I wasn’t feeling well so may family left me while they went out to village, this year however, I was feeling great and headed out with them to village.  So the day of Tabaski my brother came to pick me up to take me out to village, about and hour ride. When I got there I was greeted not only by my family, but by the whole village, even though I don’t live there everyone seemd to know me. It was a really nice, warm, welcoming feeling. Once people greeted me they went to change clothes so they could go to the mosque for prayer. While almost everyone was at mosque I decided to help some of the women in my family start preparations for lunch, however, I think they became frustrated at my lack of preparation abilities (I still can’t get how to dice an onion in your hand) so they told me to just sit back and relax. Thank the lord I brought my Kindle (Christmas present from my sister, thanks Nika!!) so I had plenty to read. When the men came back from mosque it was time to slaughter a sheep (video link will follow, once I can load it, slow internet sucks sometimes!!!). Seeing as how this probably the last time I’d get the chance to see a sheep slaughtering (even though it wasn’t) I decided to bite the bullet and watch it, every other festival I always looked away. They aren’t very harsh about the slaughtering, they just cut the throat, but  I think the worst for me was just watching the poor thing try and tae it’s last breathes of air. After it was killed though the butchering began. Even though I  do have some great butchering skils as demostrated from the 4th of July and Thanksgiving (explained later in this post) I let the men take care of it. Around 3pm we finally sat down to a delicious lunch of sheep, noodles, potatoes, and onion sauce, it was wonderful. Once I sucessfully digested all that food I decided to humor my family and put on my complet (traditional African dress) and then we walked around the village greeting people. I have notcied that that is what most of these African holidays are about, eating, getting fressed in your finet, and then just showing off to people. Finally it was getting dark and time for me to go home, my brother was nice enough to take me back to Kedougou and thus ende my Tabaski festivaties.

Now the next big event was that my older brother got married, however, no one told me about the wedding celebration until the day we were to leave for village. So I had about 5 mins to pack my overnight back and head off with my family to celebrate. In Senegal, men are allowed to up to 4 wives  so this was my brother’s second wife, and might I add, MUCH youger wife (see pictures below).  However, it is another excue to party so I decided to go and celebrate with them. We arrived in village right as the sun was setting and I thought that it would be a nice quiet clebration, however, my other brother’s friend brought a generator to village and the music played until 2 am, when the wife came and then the drumming and chanting started. At this point I didn’t really understand what was happening because I couldn’t find anyone in my family to explain to me what was happening, but as far as I saw, the wife was brought in and placed on a mat where she layed with her whoe body covered in a white sheet while the women of her family washed her feet. After they were done, someone picked her up and carried her into a room (I guess once her feet were wasjed she couldn’t touch the ground) and that was the last I saw of her until the next day. While the women of her family were taking care of her, everyone else was drumming and dancing around. At this point I figured 3am was a good enough time to go to bed so I tried to find a spot on the floor, no bed for me in village, and go to sleep. Unfortunately people kept up the drumming till about 4:30am and I ended up napping for about an hour until people started to wake up in preparation for the day’s festivaties. On this day the women in my family prepared a HUGE lunch for everyone in village while the women of the bride’s family prepared her. I helped slightly but there was so much help that I just fet in the way so I went to go hang out with the kids. We finally sat down to lunch, which consisted of another slaughtered sheep and another onion sauce, it was realyl good, then we started to dance, or at least I tried, can’t really get their moves down which is a mix of flayling arms and stomping feet. Finally it was time to unveil the bride and once again she just looked like a drag queen with too much makeup on. I know that sounds like a really bad comparison, but these people do not understand what a natural makeup look is supposed to be. So once she came out and everyone looked, there was more drumming and dancing and then it was time to go home. Again, another celebration where we eat and dress up to show other people.

Finally my last big celebration was Thanksgiving. Last year we had 10 chickens and 5 ducks seasoned to our tastes; however, this year the boys decided that we would make a Puducken, now what is a Puducken you may ask, it’s a chicken wrapped in a duck wrapped in a turkey, wrapped in a pig, how can you go wrong with oll those meats? So as the Kedougou butcher it was my job to take care of the meats. I went on the interent and found out that to make a traditional Turducken you have to de-bone both the chicken and the duck, so to make the Puducken I had to de-bone the chicken, the duck, and the turkey, thankfully I had some eager apprentees waiting to help. Once I de-boned all the fowl we then stuffed it all inside each other and stuffed in a pig that we put into the ground, best way to cook a pig. The next day I also helped with the major cooking, I also made creamy mashd potatoes, chessey garlic mashed potatoes, and lactose free mashed potatoes. I had to cook 8kg, or 17 lbs of potatoes and then mashed them all with two forks, nothing is easy in Kedougou!! Also, I took care of the corn and helped with the stuffing and green bean casserole. When we were all ready to sit down to eat we had our Puducken, 3 different kinds of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, homemade gravy, apple pie, cheesecake, and carrot cake. It was a really great meal and I’m happy I got to celebrate it with my Kedougou family. After eating we just all ended up in a food coma, it felt just like home!

Here are all my brothers dressed up in their best outfits before going to mosque.

DO you think these women chopped enough onions?

And you thought cooking dinner for 50 was hard in America.

Me with all of the kids in the family.

Here is my brother and his new wife, she’s the one in the white dress. Don’t they look like such a happy couple?

So when the party gets started, the women dance around together while the men…

Sit and stare at the computer that is playing the music!


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