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Echo’s Travel Diary

Monday, 24 Dec 2007

MapHello everyone and Merry Christmas and Happy Tobaski. Just so you all know my Christmas present from Mom and Dad is hooking up my internet for me so very soon I will have more blogs than ever written cause I can do it from the comfort of my couch and not sit at school and do it.

So Tobasky came and went although there is still the feeling of the holiday in the air. I spent the day with Mino and his brothers, first at their family compound and then to an Aunt's house and then ended at Mino's friend's house. This was a huge day and is for every mulsim. It begins in the morning with the men going to the mosque and praying outside it (normally they pray inside but on this day you pray outside). After this the men go back to the house and they slaughter a sheep. Yep every compound has one or two (sometimes even three) and they kill them and eat them. So before Tobaski all you hear in everyone's compounds is the bleating of rams and then all of a sudden after about 11:00 in the morning the Silence of the Rams hits the streets and there is no more sound.

After the men kill it and clean it and cut it up it, it is then the woman's job to cook the sheep. And they cook and cook and cook all day and then finally serve the food to all the men that come around visiting.

So like I said I was invited to spend Tobaski with Mino and his family so I went. I had a traditional dress made and overall I think that it looked nice. I was well dressed African style (although I would never wear it in Canada) and many people commented that I looked beautiful. In fact it was nice but the only problem is is that they make the dresses here body fitting and when you have to eat as much as you do on tobaski it makes eating very difficult. Picture yourself having to eat three turkey dinners in one day. This is basically what you have to do because when you go to someone elses house you have to eat.

Okay back to the day. I didn't go over to Mino's house until after the sheep was murdered and cooking. This was kind of because I didn't want to be sitting along in the compound with his mom and grandma (who don't speak English) staring at a sheep that I knew was going to die. So he came and picked me up after it was all done. Now normally men and women do not sit together nor do they eat together but this is the joy of being a twobob (or white). I sat with the men the whole time and was included in the day. Granted they spoke Woloff or Mandinka most of the time but someone was usually trying to include me and talk to me in English for most of the day. Overall the day was quite an experience and a lot of fun. I have attached a couple of pictures so you can see my dress and see the death of the sheep as Mino documented the whole thing (which I learned later was to avoid having to help kill it and clean it cause he can't handle it). This is funny cause it is an expectation of every muslim man when he begins his own family.

So that was a brief Tobaski story for you and now it is time to celebrate christmas. Tracy arrived and we are going to cook a little bit of an African/ Ukrainian feast...yippee for sour cream and perogies and Afra. I will try and write again soon. Enjoy the pictures and I will label the ones you should be warned about.