Thursday, July 19, 2012

Baby Crazy

Little Sister #4 is Here!

Well, the biggest news in my life is that I'm a big sister yet again! The Diaw family has welcomed their fourth beautiful baby girl into the world on July 9, 2012. Let's rewind...

I had gotten back to my site on the eighth, after having been away for a bit for Senegal's huge Fourth of July celebration down south. The morning of the ninth, I was waking up and getting going with my morning. I told my mom that I was going to use the gas burner in the pantry to heat up some water... (I eat lunch and dinner with my family, but I eat breakfast on my own. I usually eat America food like granola bars or oatmeal for breakfast. This was an oatmeal morning). So I told my mom that I was using the gas and she said okay.

A few minutes later I went to get my hot water and realized that someone had locked the pantry. Kind of a problem because there was a burning fire on the gas burner in there... uh oh... So I ran out and saw my mom walking away from the house. I ran after her to grab her key and unlock the pantry. No big deal, but kind of funny since my mom knew I had the gas on. Anyway...

That afternoon, one of my aunts pops her head in my room and says, "Mariama, your mom had a baby," to which I responded, "What?! When? Where is she? What? BOY OR GIRL?!" I was clearly much more excited than anyone else. So I asked my aunt if she would walk with me to the health post to go see the baby. My aunt then told me that she couldn't go because it would be bad luck. This confused me because apparently it wasn't bad luck for me to go see the baby. My aunt then pointed to her own protruding belly and I learned that it must be bad luck for a pregnant woman to go see a woman who had just given birth at the health post. Ya learn something new everyday.

So I enlisted my little sister Seyni (age- around 5) to walk with me to go see our mom. We went in and saw her and met our new little sister! At that point, she didn't yet have a name, because names aren't given out until a week after a baby is born at their baptism. Mom looked good and seemed very calm, which is pretty much how it goes here. She said to me, "Mariama, this morning when you needed to get the key from me... I was having the baby then". And she hadn't mentioned anything nor did she seem even slightly flustered. Very cool and collected, Mom.

 A few hours old

My new little baby

A week later, the Diaw house held an ngenti (Muslim baptism) for the little one. I had three friends come visit to help represent the Toubab presence in new little sister's life. Shout out to Jenn, Mac and Bonnie for coming over for the ngenti and helping peel the thousands of onions! Sidebar- we were made to put onions on our heads to stop from crying. Interesting.

Jenn with an onion on her head
Crying onion-heads

Thanks for the sweat and tears, guys!

In the morning, the Imam (village religious leader) and a large group of old men came over very early and blessed the baby. Then her name was revealed: Maam Rama (pronounced like Mom). Then there was lot of cooking, as usual. Then eating. At one point, a group of women handed out pieces of fabric and money to the important people in Maam Rama's life. I was shocked to be presented a few meters of fabric! Of course, all of the women made me dance before I was able to take my present, but it was still really special. 

Just got my special fabric!

Then my mom made her grand entrance. At baptisms, the mom is usually MIA until the afternoon, when she appears fully decked out in a beautiful outfit and makeup (well, not really our idea of beautiful makeup, but still). My mom looked great. Also worth noting, is that the baby's outfit isn't at all significant, but they do get their head shaved and eyebrows drawn on for the event. Go figure.

Then that was really it. Overall, a pretty chill occasion for Senegal standards. 

Beautiful mama

Pretty hair

Mom and Maam Rama

Look at that shaved head!


Don't cry, little one!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

Before I leave, I just want to send out a HUGEEEEE thank you to everyone who has donated to my projects lately!! I am so grateful for such thoughtful, generous friends and family! Thank you so much to Clare Hayner, Aunt Kit, Dug and Peggy Levin, my Nan, Aunt Susan and Uncle Charlie, Uncle Bobby, Aunt Anne Marie and my parents!

I am so grateful to all of you! And thank you to my love Kristin for the wonderful package that I received! 

As always, I love and miss all of you! 

1 comment:

  1. This is so amazing and so beautifully described! This experience is so impressive on so many levels and I am so proud to know you!! (So many "sos"- I am obviously not the natural writer that you are!) You also look mahvelous dahling and the whole experience seems to be agreeing with you! Much love from PA- Deb Scott