bon fete, iid sayiid

Yesterday I was entirely too full of meat, so sick to my stomach that even the smell made me afraid. Today I have recovered. Two days ago I ate at least, easily, two pounds of sheep. Tabaski. A fellow volunteer asked me yesterday if I remembered when Africa was hot. I do. And when in the sun for more than 20 minutes at a time, despite night’s chill, it’s still easy to. That’s not to say wearing a mulaffa lately has seemed more of a cloak than an oppressive bed sheet wrapped 2 and a half times around my whole body. My opinions on mulaffas are mixed. Pros: Good protection from the sun. Warm. Easy to throw on. You don’t have to worry about picking out a matching outfit. One size fits all (especially good for Mauritanian women). Good to fall asleep in, because of it’s sheetlike resemblence. Lily adds that you feel like you are in Star Wars when you walk around on the sand. I agree, that, or a cloaked badass at night. Cons: Can be annoying as hell to try to walk in. Shapeless. Warm. Feeling like you always have to be covered up. Gross in bathroom dragging situations. Like I said, I must have eaten Sheep with either potatoes, bread, couscous or rice at least 6 times the first day of Tabaski. For all those who don’t know the holiday that well(that was me about a week ago), it’s when God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son, and he agreed and then right before the slaughter, God replaced it with a sheep, since he was only testing Abraham’s loyalty. Abraham passed. I bought a mulaffa that was about a tenth of my monthly salary. It’s dark and deep and blue. Christmas seems far off in a different land, but somehow, Tabaski carried the same air of merriment. There was shopping, and new clothes, and lots of visiting with family and frieds, and coldness in the air. Anyway, I miss America, and mainly the people there, but work is progressing with projects abound, and language is still coming… …. … slowly. I’ll post pictures soon. A bientot. xo amanda


One Response to “bon fete, iid sayiid”

  1. P. Harper Dillon Says:

    I’m not sure how the Quran tells the story of Abraham and Isaac – In the “Old Testament” God made Abraham wait 90 years before his wife (Sarah?) gave birth to Isaac and in the meantime Abraham produced a son Ishmael, with his wife’s servant. When Sarah finally got pregnant, Abraham sent Ishmael and is mother packing. For Muslims, he is a prophet of Islam and the ancestor of Muhammad through Ishmael -But after such a long wait, Yaweh tested Abrahams faith by sending him up on the mountain to kill Isaac. According to the story, Abraham didn’t “pass” but just as he was about to off Isaac, an angel appeared and restrained
    Abraham’s hand which was already descending to kill his son.

    Two great songs feature this story. One by Dylan with the first verse:

    Oh God said to abraham kill me a son
    Abe said man you must be puttin me on
    God said no, abe said what
    God say you can do what you wanna but
    The next time you see me comin you better run
    Well abe said where dyou want this killin done
    God said out on highway 61

    The other, much more serious, by Leonard Cohen: The Story of Isaac

    The door it opened slowly,
    my father he came in,
    I was nine years old.
    And he stood so tall above me,
    his blue eyes they were shining
    and his voice was very cold.
    He said, “I’ve had a vision
    and you know I’m strong and holy,
    I must do what I’ve been told.”
    So he started up the mountain,
    I was running, he was walking,
    and his axe was made of gold.

    Well, the trees they got much smaller,
    the lake a lady’s mirror,
    we stopped to drink some wine.
    Then he threw the bottle over.
    Broke a minute later
    and he put his hand on mine.
    Thought I saw an eagle
    but it might have been a vulture,
    I never could decide.
    Then my father built an altar,
    he looked once behind his shoulder,
    he knew I would not hide.

    You who build these altars now
    to sacrifice these children,
    you must not do it anymore.
    A scheme is not a vision
    and you never have been tempted
    by a demon or a god.
    You who stand above them now,
    your hatchets blunt and bloody,
    you were not there before,
    when I lay upon a mountain
    and my father’s hand was trembling
    with the beauty of the word.

    And if you call me brother now,
    forgive me if I inquire,
    “Just according to whose plan?”
    When it all comes down to dust
    I will kill you if I must,
    I will help you if I can.
    When it all comes down to dust
    I will help you if I must,
    I will kill you if I can.
    And mercy on our uniform,
    man of peace or man of war,
    the peacock spreads his fan.


    I hope we can talk some time soon.


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