The time is 7:35PM. I'm sitting in our dimly lit hallway/living room/dining room listening to my host mom bark orders at the kids as she prepares "dogu," the afternoon snack to break fast. The sun is almost set and in the distance I notice the Mosques quiet down as they prepare for the approaching belch of prayers. This has been my favorite time of day for the past two weeks. The city slows down and all the families get together to pray and eat. Sweet symphony.
I must admit I had never given Ramadan a moments notice before this year. I suppose I had heard about it and knew that it was a time of prayer and fasting but that was the extent of my knowledge. Well I certainly know about it now. I have tried fasting from both water and food for two days in a row and that is no picnic. So I really admire my people here who do this for a whole month. The way it works is you cannot eat or drink anything while the sun is risen. So you can wake up at 5:30 to eat but after that you must wait until 7:43. Then you break the fast with a date, sandwich, coffee, and juice. Then you go pray for a while. Dinner in this house is around 9:30/10.
I think the reason I've enjoyed this so much is because Ramadan is supposed to be a time of forgiveness, friendliness, and prayer. People have been very curtious or at least quiet. Visiting other homes has been a treat as well since many people break fast with pastries and delicious juice. But it has led to a little stir-craziness so I've been out exploring the rural parts of Mboro some days. Here's what I've found.