The past week was quite a surprising week. I had many appointments planned, so I expected this week to be very fruitful. However, after all, no interview did take place this week... I was a little bit disappointed, because I called so many people (I used disproportionally many pre-paid telephone cards this week), I e-mailed so many people, but in the end no one was available this week and the appointments that I had were cancelled. It took a lot of energy, with no clear results yet, but I think it is the plight of a reseacher... It cannot always go as smoothly as the weeks before. Nevertheless, I think (and hope) to have many interviews next week and the week after. Apart from working many hours this week (and be a little bit frustrated from time to time), I also had a lot of fun!
On Monday afternoon I went with Marieke (a Dutch girl who works for an NGO here in Dakar) to the tailor. A few weeks ago we bought some nice fabrics at the market and now it was time to make some nice dresses! On Monday the tailor took our sizes and made some nice drawings of the dresses that we had in mind and on Saturday morning we could pick them up! We were both very satisfied. It is amazing what this tailor could make!
|Measuring our sizes.|
|My dress is almost finished!|
On Wednesday night we celebrated Tamkharit (the Muslim celebration for the New Year). The mother of Bijou did not go to work on Wednesday, but she was cooking all day instead. There is a traditional dish served in Senegal for this holiday, called Thiéré. It is Senegalese couscous served with a tomato sauce, vegetables and meat. People eat as much as possible, untill they cannot eat any more. After the meal, all the children (but also many adults) go out to celebrate and play on their home-made drums (mostly tin cans and sometimes just a plastic container is sufficient). This celebration is not the same like other traditions. It was quite funny to see - especially realizing that I am in a Muslim country - that men were dressed like women and women like men. The children go from house to house to do a small performance and to collect money. They sing a traditional song when they are in the house and the man says "tajaboon” the woman replies "waley” and they say good wishes to each other. Again, a nice experience! :-)
|Preparing the food.|
|Making the tomato sauce with meat.|
|Ready to cook the couscous!|
|The traditional dish for New Year's Eve: Thiéré|
On Thursday night there was again a ceremony at the family of Bijou. Although Bijou and Bocar were married a couple of weeks ago, Bijou still lived in the house of her mother and not with Bocar, because she wanted to finish her university study first. However, Thursday night was the 'big day' from which Bijou and Bocar would officially live togheter. It was a night with many traditions and protocols and again, so special to be part of it. She was wearing a nice dress and her hands were decorated with henna. When she entered the house of Bocar, she had a cloth over her head, fastened like a turban. She was sitting like this, in silence, for more than an hour. The Imam prayed and she received many presents (that she of course couldn't see): from pots and pans to a blender and cutlery. Afterwards, all the women brought her upstairs to the bedroom of Bocar where he was waiting for his bride. All the ladies started to become very excited and yelled and screamed in the bedroom. It was so funny. ;-)
|Bijou with a cloth over her head.|
|Giving presents to Bijou.|
On Friday I worked in the afternoon at the French Institute. There is such a nice atmosphere at the Institute and I am a big fan of their delicious cappuccino's. ;-) At the Institute, I wrote a letter to the Prime Minister (Aminata Touré), because a friend-of-a-friend of the mother of Bijou knows her very well and is willing to ask her if she would be available for an interview with me. That is very excited of course!! I hope it will all work out! She was previously the Minister of Justice and worked for many years for the UNFPA in New York. It would be very valuable for my research to talk to her!
|Typing a letter to the Prime Minister of Senegal.|
On Saturday I went with Jessica (a Dutch girl who works in Dakar as a teacher at the Dutch School) to the beach at N'Gor. We met each other during a night out in the city center of Dakar and we decided that we should meet again! After a week of hard work, it was nice to relax and enjoy a cold Flag bear on the beach. :-)
|Beach at the Island of N'Gor|
|Enjoying a beer at Saturday afternoon|
Saturday night we went together to a reggae concert of Filentre at the French Institut. It was so much fun, we really enjoyed it! Most of the songs were in French, but occasionally he also sang in English. The band was Senegalese, which I found fantastic. I'm especially a fan of the percussion! It is so nice to see how the musicians blend in with the music!
|Such a nice atmosphere!|
|There were also 2 special guests, they were awesome!|
Today I transcribed an interview and I had lunch with the mother of Bijou. Thanks to my interns, I am up-to-date up to now with all the transcriptions, with which I am so happy!! I hope we can continue this till the beginning of February, that would be great!!!
We'll see what this week will bring. I hope it's gonna be a fruitful one!
I keep you updated.