Monday, October 4, 2010
Part 2 of 3 Koritie and Soccer (Ballon in Pular)
Koritie signifies the end of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of prayer where no one eats or drinks from sunrise to sunset. It was an interesting experience to partake in this tradition and I learned a lot about the mind and how powerful it can be. Needless to say everyone was very excited for the moon to re-appear, indicating that they could finally stop fasting. The day my village saw the moon, there was shouting and hugging and lots of congratulating. The next morning I woke to find everyone dressing up in their fanciest outfits, heading to the mosque, and preparing an amazing feast. I joined in on the fun and helped my sisters prepare lunch. They don't really trust me to cook so i got to chop the vegetables (whoo hoo) Before lunch was served I joined my sisters in getting dressed up. It was fun, we painted our nails, did our makeup, and yes they even convinced me to wear a wig. (see pic)
After lunch, I spent the rest of the day greeting the village. I went from household to household both blessing and getting blessed by every person. The blessings are "May god grant you a long life" May god give you many children" "May god give you good health" etc. The reply to all of these is Aa Min...AaMin...which means "and you also" It was a very happy day with lots of love and smiles. Another interesting thing to note is that all the children also go household to household but along with the blessings, you also give them change. "Coodie" It kind of reminded me of Halloween, but instead of costumes, its beautiful African material, and instead of candy, it's money.
The week or so before Koritie, all the villages throughout Senegal prepare for a national wide soccer tournament. The boys spend the late afternoons training and working out in order to prepare for their upcoming matches. There are 4 teams in my village and they all play against each other. The best team then competes with other villages. I am not exactly sure of the details from then on out, but it is quite amusing. (especially because I got some soccer skill and that has become known to everyone). In fact, one of the teams named themselves Fatuamata Tobaka "Fatu the White person" after me. Kind of crazy but a little flattering! The goals are made out of two wooden tree trunks that have a rope attaching the tops of them. Before the matches start the boys clear the fields with machetes, so the boundary of the field is marked by where the grass is not cut. Some have cleats and shin guards, but most do not. Some have shoes or jellies, and some play barefoot. They have jerseys and the lines men use tree branches, but other than that it's a pretty normal game of soccer.