Saturday, July 7, 2012

How to Grow a Jayfundé!

What's a Jayfundé you ask??  It's the Wolof word for Butt, however in this context the better word would be Booty.  As I've mentioned before, Senegal has not been good to me.  Granted, I have had an AMAZING Peace Corps experience, but the Senegalese diet is responsible for the nearly 20lb weight gain I've experienced over my time here.  Don't be fooled like I was.  Originally I thought, "Huh, I'm going to West Africa, hell ,I'll probably lose weight there!" WRONG! So wrong! In fact,  I wish I would have known this before coming, but the majority of female volunteers serving in West Africa gain weight while the male volunteers lose weight.  The culprit?--- Senegal. The diet here. Carbs. Oh the carbs!
And no matter what I do, I can't seem to lose it---trust me---I've done almost everything to try to lose this weight including "questionable" methods which i don't feel so inclined to share.  The only thing that has worked for me was leaving this country.  When I went on vacation to Spain I lost like 10lbs, just by not being in Senegal.  So you can imagine that I can not wait to get back to America....counting down the days.....
But for those of you who are interested in growing a jayfundé, here's whatcha got to do (And believe me this works! I verified with my Senegalese friends and they confirmed it!):

~Eat Beans. Seriously. I eat the famous bean sandwich almost every morning for breakfast.  They are delicious!
My usual breakfast
Bread and beans: Simple but delicious!

~Eat Peanuts.  Anyway you want: just the nuts or in the form of peanut butter.  Peanuts are a staple here in Senegal, and at least 2-3 times a week my family makes Maffe Gerte, which basically is an oily peanut sauce on top of rice.
This is Maffe Gerte--get some!
~Eat Millet.  I know it's not something you'd usually eat in America, but we eat it a lot here.  Oftentimes for breakfast or dinner, and especially during Ramadan my family eats Mooney, which is a millet based porridge.  Literally it is little balls of millet flour boiled in water until it turns into porridge.  Add sugar, yogurt, and sometimes lime juice! It's delicious, and will definetely help you grow a bigger booty!
Millet Porridge

~Eat Corn.  Usually we eat a corn based "couscous" which is called Leciri.  Basically it's a bunch of corn kernals that have either been pounded by hand or milled by a machine.  My family likes to eat this often with either a peanut, leaf, or oil based sauce.

~Eat Oil. Lots and lots of oil.  You can't avoid it here! It's in everything!  The most common is tintilu, or the red palm oil.  You can find it generously poured on top of dishes like these:
Fish boulettes in palm oil sauce on top of rice

The same dish, but this time on corn leciri (couscous)

~Eat Rice. Lots and lots and lots of rice! At least twice a day. That's what we do!
It's what we eat, but only short grain, not long grain

If you follow these easy steps, I guarantee you'll grow a worthy jayfundé, you may even grow other areas of your body too including but not limited to: stomach, legs, arms, etc. 
Soon after you've followed this diet, people will start to tell you (Like my Senegalese family likes to tell me everyday), "You have body now!" or "Wow, Salimatou your ass is so big!" 
Who wouldn't want to be complimented like that?

So a big Thanks goes out to you Senegal, for your eating habits and the new jayfundé you've given to me! Thank you! :)

**And inchallah it disappears the minute I step foot in America! :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dance ~ Danse!

So I'm in the final days of my Peace Corps service, and I decided for my final "project" I'd do something a little different.  The girls youth group that I work with here in my village, Kounkané, and I have been meeting twice weekly to prepare for the project.  I've been working with the girls, consistently, teaching them different kinds of dance  (jazz, hiphop, latin styles, etc.) while also giving them a chance to express their creativity. They really seemed to enjoy our meetings! After a couple of months of just dancing around together, the girls expressed interest in sharing what they've learned with the community, so we decided to put on a mini performance for their friends, families, and neighbors.  We started preparation for the Kounkané Dance Performance around the beginning of March.  The girls told me what songs they liked and what they wanted to dance to.  I thought it was a good idea to mix up the type of music, so that it wasn't just American music or just Senegalese music.  There ended up being 3 groups of about 3-4 girls per group.  Each group danced to a music mix for the duration of about 5 minutes, with a mixture of 5 to 6 songs per compilation.  I did the choreography for almost all of the music compilations for each group, but I gave the girls the opportunity to dance freely, doing movements they created, for some of the Senegalese songs that were incorporated in each compilation. {Also, some dance moves for Shakira's Waka Waka, and Jennifer Lopez's, Papi, were borrowed/inspired for our own use during those songs---but the rest of the choreography is my own :)}The girls worked hard, meeting about twice a week to practice and learn.  They learned new types of dance moves and choreography, how to count music, spacing, and spins.  There were some days I made them come to my house and dance in front of a mirror so they could see themselves and the areas where they could improve (they loved that!!!).
The girls during a practice session
Some of my girls rehearsing

Practice! Practice! Practice!
 By the beginning of April, one of the groups was practically ready to dance in front of a crowd, and with the Senegalese Independence day on April 4th approaching, the girls asked if they could perform at the yearly parade.  This year, however, due to budget cuts at the mayor's office there was not an Independence Day parade.  Fortunately, (after riding my bike all over Kounkané) I found out that the local band/orchestra was putting on a show that night, and I asked them if my girls could participate and dance.  They said we could as long as we did it for free, so that night my girls had their first taste of performing.  They danced three songs, and they were a huge hit! For weeks afterwards people continued to approach me and congratulate me and my girls on how well they did (even though there were a few mess-ups, they still did amazing!)  After their first mini-performance, they were even more motivated for the bigger show we were planning to put on at the end of the school year.
So the girls continued with hard work and practice and finally on June 16th, 2012 we had our "Spectacle de Danse" for the community.  It was a free show, which took place in the evening at the Foyer de Jeunesse (where we had our weekly meetings).  I had the girls make invitations and hand them our to their friends and families and I even had skirts made for each of the dancers, so they could have something similar to a costume. (We didn't have any money to put on a huge show and get really nice costumes made.  I had the skirts made for my girls with my own money, and we cut up pieces of old material and sewed them on to the skirts to give them some "flaire"). The local DJ said he would come and play the music for free on his giant speakers, instead of my flimsy little stereo I usually used for practices, and the mayor's office donated 20 chairs to use during our show.  It was nice to see that the community chipped in to help put on a free show for the kids in their village :)
Group 1 during the Dance Performance
Oumy, Siradia, Aichatou: Group 2
Salimatou & Dienabou: Group 3
The performance was great! Each group danced twice, and as far as an audience, we had a pretty good turnout, mostly kids, but it was good that their peers could see how hard they had worked for the show.  I am so proud of my youth group! Although this was a secondary work project, it was by far the most enjoyable projects I've worked on!

Showing off their skills :)

 I feel like my girls learned a lot from this experience, not just new dance moves, but the importance of hard work, trying new things, and believing in themselves.  When we first started, many of the girls saw the choreography and said, "I can't do that. That's too hard." But in the end, I think they realized that yes, they can do anything they put their minds to, and with hard work, practice, and discipline, they were able to do what they never thought possible.

Here is the link to the youtube video I uploaded of group 2.  I want to upload more of the videos but the internet is super slow here.  Check back later for more videos if you're interested :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

April Travels.....

So I know it's been a long long time since an update....sorry for that....but I've been busy wrapping up.  I officially have a little under 3 months until my return to the USA, and after my COS conference which took place in the middle of April, I've opted to take the plane ticket home to America vs. cash in-lieu of.  Why?? Well, as much as I'd love to travel some more before heading home, financially I'm not in a position to do so, even with the readjustment allowance I'll receive. So I'm now officially coming home on August 11th, 2012!!!
 But what have I been doing since my last post?? Well, last month I spent about two weeks travelling around Senegal/Gambia. A few of my friends and I went to a village called Lompoul to ride camels in the Sahara desert. There's a great campement there where you spend the night in the desert in tents. We chose to ride camels, which is a service they offer, and we spent a lot of time playing in the sand dunes. It was AMAZING!!! I admit, it was a bit touristy, but I'm so glad we did it! If you are planning a trip to Senegal at anytime in the future, do this. Here's the website:

Pam, Alex, Me, and Julia riding camels
Pretending to be pro camel riders
Freaking out when the camel stood up
Playing in the sand dunes!

After sleeping overnight in the freezing cold desert (seriously. It was so cold!), I spent some time in Thies working out Close of Service logistics and processes.  Then my friend Alex and I decided to use up the last of our vacation time in The Gambia (the country inside of Senegal). We spent about a week there checking out the beautiful beaches, petting crocodiles, eating delicious food, enjoying the best that Banjul has to offer, and gawking at the beauty of the Gambian river in Georgetown.
Petting a crocodile
A fishing beach in Banjul, The Gambia
Elephant trees!!!!
The Gambian River in Georgetown

After our short but amazing vacation in The Gambia, I returned to site. It's always a great feeling returning to my village after being away for a bit.  I love being reunited with my family and friends and sharing details about my trip with them :)
For the last month, since my return to Kounkane, I've been finishing up my Junior Achievement project.  I completed my last one at Ecole 4 in Kounkane, but this time I had 33 students instead of my usual 20. 
I've officially started the exiting process now that I'm in my final three months.  I only have one project left, which will take place on June 30th of this year (check back for a blog post on it!).  So until next posting.....

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Big Scary Future......

What do I want to do with my life??? I feel like that is the most pondered question anyone has ever asked themselves. As my service is coming to a close I've started thinking about the big, scary future, and I'm not gonna lie....I'm stressing out.  So many possibilities....Grad School? Work? or maybe I'll just eat myself into a taco comma?? Not to mention that I am terrified about going back to life in America, I'm going to be so weird!  I am definitely going to miss my abundance of free time and the slower rhythm of life here. I'm going through that bitter-sweet stage again like I did almost 2 years ago preparing for my Peace Corps journey: sad to be leaving friends and family and familiar culture, but at the same time excited for a new adventure and the unfamiliar.  Here I am again,but now preparing to return to my home country and leaving my second home.  By the time I leave, it'll have been 2 years that I've lived in Senegal; it is my home. I have a family here, a group of friends that I visit frequently, and a daily routine at site. I get a little tear-y eyed just thinking about saying good-bye.  But with the remaining time I have left, I plan on enjoying it :)
Now with about four months to go until my departure I have to start thinking about the future. What do I want to do? Where do I want to live? Besides finishing up the last few projects I have left, I plan on devoting my time to trying to get an idea about my future. Our close of service conference is coming up in mid-April, and then I'll have to start the exit-ing process.  Scary.  But with this conference comes a little fun. I'll get to be reunited with all of my stagemates with whom I've shared this Peace Corps journey, and a few of us are planning to travel around a bit afterwards (I'll do a blog update about that once it occurs).
As far as what has occurred in between this blog post and the last......well, I finished my Junior Achievement at école 2, and started another at école 1; therefore, making a grand total of three  completed trainings at my site (2 more to go!).  Also, two rounds of the Senegalese elections occurred. The first taking place on February 26th, where the number of candidates was reduced to two: Abdoulaye Wade and Macky Sall.  The second round occurred about a month later on March 25th, where Macky Sall won the presidential election. My host family was a little upset because their candidate lost, but in the end it was a very peaceful election. 
In March, the half marathon for girls education took place and lots of volunteers and Senegalese nationals participated to raise money for the scholarship project. Also, I assisted in an HIV/STD education project with several volunteers to talk about safe sex and teen pregnancy in a nearby village a few weeks ago, which was extremely successful in my opinion (great work Velingara volunteers!!!).  And last but certainly not least, I've been meeting with my girls youth group twice a week working on an amazing project that will (hopefully) take place at the end of May or beginning of June.  I'm, however, refusing to disclose any information about our "secret" project because I'm so afraid we will jinx all of our efforts up to this point in time.  Once the project is executed, I'll have a full blog update with photos and video :) I'm sooooo excited about this though! It is one of the most rewarding things I've worked on so far, and the girls are the highlight of my week! So keep your eyes open for any of new posts in the next couple of months :)

So what's planned for the next few weeks???:
-Easter holiday in the Jolla neighborhood (where all the catholics live) I'm going to a rare mass service in my village, which is predominately muslim! I'm really excited about it!
-Journey to Lompoul village to ride Camels in the Sahara desert
-Close of Service Conference
-Travel Shenanigans with my partner in crime
-Economic Development Fair in Kolda

I'll update again soon! :) Bisous to all! xoxoxoxo

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Life Lately

So I know it's been awhile since my last post.......but I wanted to do a short recap of all that's been going on since my Mali trip:
It's the New Year! Alhumdililah! 2012 is the year I return to Amerik--I seriously can't believe it! It's crazy to think that by the time I return, I wouldn't have seen anyone in my family in 2 years!!! I miss them sooo much! Anyone want to come and visit me (After elections of course)???
My Peace Corps service has just flown by! But with the new year comes new projects, and I really am trying to finish as much as possible before I take off in August. So after a few weeks up north in the Dakar/Thies region in the beginning of January (mostly for work, summits, and drunken shenanigans), I started my first Junior Achievement at one of the local elementary schools in Kounkane. Junior Achievement is a really great program that introduces kids to basic business and economic concepts.  The level I did is very basics and introduces the kids with whom I work how communities function and how people work together.
  I started at Ecole 3, and we did two and a half weeks, meeting twice a week until the five sessions were over.  I taught 20 kids, about 5th or 6th grade level equivalent, about how a community functions. We also talked about types of production, the role of the governement, how to make decisions/weighing the options, and the cycle of money.  It was actually really really fun! My kids were great, attentive, and very involved! At the end of the fifth session I brought soda and cookies for the kids to celebrate what they've learned and achieved :) I just started my second Junior Achievement at Ecole 2 last week, and that should last me until the end of February. I really want to do one at all of the elementary schools in Kounkane (there are 4) and hopefully one in the neighboring village in Thianfara Koba, but we shall see how it works out.  It's been a bit difficult at some of the schools getting teachers or principles on board to help and organize this......inchallah it works out :)
What else have I been up to??? Well, I was "training" for a 10k race that is taking place in Tambacounda on March 4th to raise money for the Michelle Sylvester Scholarship program that keeps girls educated :) But somehow I messed up my right foot, I think it's a tendon problem because it didn't swell, but I can't really put a lot of pressure on it so I think I'm gonna have to forfeit running in the race.  No worries though, you can still donate, and you should, $5, $10, even $15 goes a really long way here for supporting girls with staying in school! Plus there are still A LOT of volunteers who will be running for the girls, and not just a 10k like i was planning.  There is a 5k, 10k, and a half marathon, all taking place in the beginning of hot/dry season in Senegal in probably one of the hottest regions in the country.  Crazy right?  So if you have a spare $5 or $10, please donate so we can keep this program continuing for the brilliant and beautiful girls of Senegal :) Watch the Promo Video :) Click Donate and write "Marathon for Education" in comment section

So that''s about all I've been up to: work, planning, and trying to finish up my Peace Corps service on a strong note, inchallah :) So I'll try to update my blog more this year, but no guarantees, I'm sort of running out of stuff that I find interesting to blog about :)
A la prochaine......

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


So I recently got back from a trip to Mali. It was AMAZING! If you are considering going there, you should, trust me, even with all the drama of kidnappings and Al Quaida. It's safe to travel as long as you stay out of Restricted Travel Zones (we checked with our security guy :)).  We spent time in Kéniéba, Bamako, and Dogon Country.  Unfortunately Timbuktu was off limits, thanks to Al Quaida....seriously why do they have to ruin everything? But Mali truly was one of the coolest trips I've ever taken. I would put it in my top 5 places I've ever travelled too! There were lots of surprises throughout our stay in Mali, some I will post on my blog, others will remain secrets in Mali ;)
Our trip started after we took a car from Kedougou to the Senegal/Mali border.  We went through customs, got our passports stamped and walked across the bridge into Mali.  From there, we were 30k from the next biggest city and we don't speak Malinke or Bambara so it was a little difficult to figure out how we could get there. Fortunately, a Senegalese friend of Alex (my friend who travelled to Mali with me) gave us a number to her Malian friend who came to the border, picked us up in his car and took us to Kéniéba .  There were no cars/buses leaving to the capital, Bamako until the following day; therefore, requiring us to stay the night in Kéniéba.  One of the best things about West Africa, is the hospitality.  Seriously! We had just met these people and they let us stay with them that night until we could catch the 5:00am bus the next morning to Bamako.  We crashed at a woman's house named Djemé. She was amazing! Alex and I hit it off with her from the beginning.  She was a 27 year old female police officer, the only one in the entire city of Kéniéba! She wasn't married and didnt have kids, and she drove a motto! She was independent and confident and so welcoming. She was truly a rare gem, seriously career women are hard to find in West Africa, it's just not a huge part of the culture--yet.
So we crashed there for the night, and took the first bus to Bamako. It took about 6 hours to get there, but it seriously was one of the craziest rides I've ever had. The floor of the bus lifted up and all this dirt entered the bus covering Alex and I in a layer of filth. By the time we reached the hotel we looked super tan, but really it was just dirt.  We got checked into our hotel, the Sleeping Camel, and went to the toubab-y restaurant for lunch. I ate my first pizza in I don't know how long! Amazing! We spent 4 days in Bamako. It's a nice capital city, fairly calm compared to Dakar.  But after living in West Africa for over 2 years, we felt a little bored, I mean it's not all that different from Senegal. We filled our time by wandering around the city, checking out the markets (which were very similar to Senegalese markets) except that Bamako has an area in its major market that contains fetish stalls. What is that you ask? Fetish? Well, it's an area that contains all the voodoo and magical ingredients you need to make potions, cast spells, or make powerful amulets.  There are a lot of animists in Mali.  The fetish stalls were really cool! You can find animal heads like monkeys, dogs, other bush animals, birds, etc. There was animal skin, dried horse penises, and other random stuff. I paid 500cfa (about $1 to take some photos like these:)

Alex hangin out in the fetish stalls
For all your fetish needs

 It was really fun! We also spent time in Bamako eating not-African-food. Bamako is a huge city! You can find lots of different types of food! We splurged one night on thai food! It was amazing! :)  But the craziest thing that happened during our time in Bamako was probably when we decided to casually wander into the only swanky hotel (where we were not guests) to see if we could use the pool.  (Like I mentioned earlier, we were having trouble findig things to do in Bamako) So we show up at the hotel, make our way to the pool, only to find out that you have to pay 6 mille (like $12) to use it. No thanks! We are on village pay, so instead we just decide, after pleading with the towel employee (who spoke pulaar), to just lay out and sunbathe while looking at the pool while enjoying some cold beers.  It was a lovely, relaxing way to spend our afternoon, even if we couldn't go in the water.  When we were getting ready to leave we were approached by some business men who were very polite and generous. Two of them were leaving that night for Beirut, but the other one was staying one more night so he invited Alex and I out to dinner. We accepted. It was AMAZING! We went to a lebanese restaurant where we were wined and dined--literally. There was a huge selection of food including falafel, hummus, babaganoush, fetoosh, etc. I already love lebanese food, so this was a delicious treat! :) We have a pic to prove it!
Most amazing dinner!
After dinner, the three of us went downstairs to the nightclub part of the restaurant, where we drank champagne and Belvedere. We got drunk and danced the night away! It was a truly fun night; definetly a highlight of the Bamako portion of the trip.
After our 4 days in the capital, Alex and I took a 10 hour bus ride to Mopti, but we got off in Sevare.  That is where we met our tour guide, Hassimi, who took us through a 5 day, 4 night tour through Dogon Country.  It was truly an amazing time. Our tour guide was knowledgable and fun! We spent our days hiking on a combination of flat terrain, plateau, and cliffs. We explored Dogon villages, saw mud mosques, catholique villages, and animist villages! We learned a little of the Dogon culture, saw mud huts, and villages camouflaged into the sides of cliffs.  It was one of the most amazing trips I've ever taken.  Even though a lot of Dogon looks like my home state AZ (must be the desert setting) it was still magical! I really connected to the Dogon area! It inspired me in many ways..... I loved it sooooo much! I would highly, HIGHLY, recommend it!  Check out some of our pics:
hiking down to the Dogon area
Me and our tour guide Hassimi
Cliff village
Alex exploring one of the villages we hiked through
Alex and I sittin in a Baobab tree :)
Sunset in Dogon Country
Awesome jumpin pic!
I loved Dogon!

After our Amazing Dogon tour, Alex and I headed to Djenne. It was a crazy adventure. We had to get off the bus at Djenne junction, where we took a taxi to the river crossing. From there a very large canoe took us to the other side of the river but there were no cars to take us the remaining 6k into Djenne (our taxi guy ripped us off). Fortunately we met a very nice man on the boat who invited us to stay at his house. He said we could sleep on his roof, and he would feed us and let us take a bucket bath all for the price of 2500cfa per person (about $5) so we said yes. He was very nice and his family was very hospitable. We ate fish and rice for dinner, took a hot bucket bath, and slept on the roof.  However, we now find ourselves in cold season, and it really does get cold in Africa! Alex and I had to snuggle together all night to stay warm. But the next day, our host gave us a tour (he was a tour guide) of Djenne.  We learned about the different architecture (Moroccan, Sudan, and the more traditional Malian mud style). We saw some local artisan stuff including indigo and jewlery making, and of course, we saw the gem of Djenne: the mud mosque. Apparently it's the largest mud mosque in the world! You should check out the show Human Planet, the desert addition one. :) But here is a cool photo of it:
The Mud Mosque! It was amazing!
Me and the mud mosque :)
After our tour, we made our way back to Djenne junction, where we caught a bus to Bamako.  It was a long long way back. What made it worse was that we sat right behind the driver so we could see the way he was driving (very dangerous), and we watch how the apprentis (driver assistants) made tea while driving.  It was an experience, but fun, despite being terrified for almost the entire ride. We spent a full day in Bamako after arriving where we just rested and relaxed. We went out our last night before catching a 4:00am bus back to Senegal, which probably wasn't the best idea. We drank and danced all night until the bus left. It made for a very unpleasant, 19 hour ride back, hung over, dehydrated, and restless.
Overall, this was an amazing trip! I had such a fun time! Bamako was fun, Dogon was beautiful and inspiring, and Djenne was culturally satisfying! Mali is truly a beautiful country full of surprises and amazing people. Great place to travel too (as long as you stay away from Al Quaida areas). Check out Alex and Sam's Picasa album for more fun pics:

*** If you need a great guide for Dogon, contact me. I'd be more than happy to connect you to our guy Hassimi. He is amazing!

I left my heart in Mali......Until the next posting......

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tabaski---round two

November 7th 2011 marked this year's Tabaski, a.k.a. Eid al-Adha, and I'm just now getting around to blogging about it :) This would mark the second Tabaski I've ever celebrated.  This year seemed to be much easier for me than last year.  For some reason I felt like last year it was important for me to watch the slaughtering of the sheep, like it was some cultural exchange I would be missing out on if I didn't.  This year, I told my family I've seen enough sheep throat slitting last year to last me a life time.  Instead, I settled for sitting with the women and cutting millions of onions and potatos.  I found that much more enjoyable than witnessing two sheep deaths and dismemberments---it's not really my thing. 
Preparing the meat for the meal
My sister and Aunt cutting onions and potatos

My family killed two sheep this year. It was a really special day for them :) I helped with cooking preparations most of the day.  For a pre-breakfast we ate mooney, a hearty and delicious millet porridge, which was followed by the Tabaski breakfast of sheep heart, liver, and ribs bbqed and sauteed with a delicious onion/mustard/vinegar/Spice sauce----I lack the words to describe how delicious this sauce is--seriously--it sounds weird but it is delicious! We ate that with our hands and bread.  I didn't actually eat any of the meat this year being a vegetarian and all.  Last year, I was new and afraid of offending my family, but they seemed to understand this year.

My brothers preparing the second sheep

This is how you cut meat here

After breakfast, we spent most of the afternoon preparing the lunch. It consisted of green peas (not from a can), sheep meat, boiled potatos, and the same delicious onion sauce.  We ate that with our hands and bread as well. Check out the pic:

After lunch, my family and I drank cold and refreshing ginger juice that I purchased for the occaision.  Around the evening, my brothers and sisters and I got all dressed up in our nicest clothes (I had some made but don't have a photo to show y'all), and we walked around to our friend's and neighbor's houses to greet them and ask for Salybo (gifts or money). I didn't ask for any gifts, in fact, this year (like last year) I handed out gifts to the kids and my family.  I bought a huge container of 100 lollipops and gave them to the children. :) Tabaski is the biggest holiday here (kind of like Christmas in Amerik) so buying a ton of candy for my favorite kids in the neighborhood was the least I could do :)  It was actually a really lovely day.  I spent all day with my family, I ate delicious food (no sheep meat!), and I was able to let my friends and family here know how important they are to me.

Drinking refreshments

My brother sharing the sheep meat with neighbors

I even got all dolled up for the greeting portion of the holiday! I had my hair braided like last year, and I had henna tatoos done on my feet.  I didn't put any on my hand like I did last year.  Henna here take a long time of sitting with the henna on your feet and plastic bags over them, unable to move. I wanted to have my hands free if my feet were to be bound by beauty preparations. Check out my henna:

If you're muslim, I hope your Tabaski was as nice as mine.  I'm glad I was able to spend two Tabaski holidays with my family.  It was a new experience, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to learn about it!