These pictures are from our naming ceremony in Jiroff. All children go through a naming ceremony the week after they are born. They shave the baby's head, give him/her a name, and then celebrate for the rest of the day. Ours was a shortened version of this, without the acutal headshaving. They just held a razor to our head for effects, then gave us our names, then made us dance a little bit. My Gambian name is Maimuna. My fellow Fula trainees are Liza and Josiah... their Gambian names are Tida and Demba. We were dressed in Gambian clothes for the occasion. The woman in the picture with me is Juma, my "sister" and good friend now. I am also close with Juma's daughter, Bintu. Here are some pictures of Bintu.
Here, I am learning how to brew attaya with my "cousin" and friend, Abdoulie. Attaya is a green tea that is brewed in a small kettle over hot coals. They add a whole lot of sugar to it, so it is very sweet and very strong. There is a mixing process between the kettle and the glasses, which the Gambians have turned into an art. The whole attaya process can take hours (It usually does). It is an opportunity for people to sit around and socialize, especially during the heat of the afternoon, when it is almost impossible to get any work done. But actually, you see attaya being brewed everywhere all the time.
I wanted to share this picture because it shows why sleep is sometimes hard to come by in the village. This is a picture of my front porch at night. The animals roam the village freely... and they make noises throughout the night.