Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weddings, elections, and your mother.

Here’s what I’ve been up to!

One of our language trainers, Tidiane, got married and we were all invited to the wedding! The ceremony took place in the family compound. Tidiane told us we’d probably rather skip out on the lengthy section of Koranic readings. We obliged. We showed up for the civil ceremony and… the food. :)

The inevitable flock of kids

As many people as we Americans photographed, the Guineans were practically lined up taking pictures of us! I guess it’s not everyday a flock of white people shows up at the village wedding.

Women folk cuttin up.

(This was a Muslim wedding in the strict Wahhabi tradition. At one point someone from the groom’s family attempted to put some music on, but that quickly got nixed!)

This one isn’t a fabulous picture, but I love how it captures the backdrop to the wedding scene. Tidiane is in the gray boubou, and his soon-to-be wife is in all white.

Everyone crowds around the table as the couple says their vows. The official government representative threw on the appropriate red, gold, and green Guinean sash. And baseball cap.

After the ceremony, we ate some delicious food, including a typical Peul dish called lacchiri e kosan. You serve yourself a big pile of corn flour. On top of that, scoop yourself a helping of sour milk (kind of like yogurt.) Add some sugar, mix it all up, and enjoy! Tidiane was so happy for us to be there, but I think we were really the ones who benefited—my first Guinean wedding!

Sunday November 7—election day is today! If all goes well, then results will come in within about a week, they won’t be too heavily contested, and then all of us PCVs will go to our sites! In the meantime, I’m fortunate in that I’m getting to work in Conakry with my host organization CAFODEC, as well as several other microfinance organizations. It’s been really interesting to learn about the microfinance sector here as a whole, and to get to meet with the big dogs and ask them all my questions!

Your Mother.
Finally, here’s a really cool trick from Niger, courtesy one of my fellow Response volunteers who served his two years there. Apparently, the terrible insult you give somebody in Niger is… drumroll… The Shegiya. To Shegiya somebody, you thrust your five fingers towards them, palm out. You can make an angry face with that, too, if you’d like. It’s like flipping the bird in America, but cooler, becaaaaauuuse shegiya comes from the Hausa word shegintaka, meaning in English, bastard. The five angry fingers mean, “The night you were conceived, your mama slept with FIVE men and she doesn’t even know who your daddy is! Bastard.” It’s a low blow. My friend said folks in Niger will do this to each other in traffic, in an argument and he’s even seen mothers do it to their own kids! How odd!

That’s the scoop from Guinea!


Martha Joy said...

But people do that in Cameroon too! The five fingers and the face. But the word is 'Ndaaaanima'. As far as I remember, at least. The meaning is something like what you described, but I haven't heard it so elaborate before.

It's exciting to read about the elections, I'm crossing my fingers for you and the rest of Guinea.

hfstaple said...

I had forgotten about the sour milk!

hfstaple said...

I had forgotten about the sour milk!