After a year (give or take a few days) in country, remembering to blog and finding topics to blog about is hard. Months ago, things became routine. You fantasize about an experience and all the new things you'll do. And at first, those things are new and exciting. Then those things become commonplace. Even in a more every day move from state to state or city to city, this rings true. It is easy to get lost in routine, so I try to find something new each day. Or just smile longer, because that makes days better too.
However, sometimes new things still happen on their own. A few weeks ago, I attended a naming ceremony with an older host sister that happened to be in town (she usually lives in Kombo). I'm glad she was there because nobody else on the compound brought me along! That may be because other times I go to such functions I typically leave not long after arriving. As I was walking around the compound of the ceremony, greeting others, with Fatou (the sister that brough me along), I saw one of my host moms, Mariama, with breakfast porridge poured all over her. Fatou explained to me that when a woman has had multiple miscarriages, they will give her 'mono kuwo': A porridge bath, (as well as a prayer) which makes God happy and the hope is that in the future she will be able to have a baby. From my viewpoint as observer and learner of the culture and customs, it was interesting to see a clear example of the intersection of traditions that remain from Animism to the Islamic customs and beliefs now in place. From my viewpoint as "adopted toubob (white person) daughter", it made me understand this host mom a little bit more. She had always seemed a little bit sad to me and I never knew why. Now, I try to give her extra smiles and keep her in my own prayers.