I haven’t posted in close to a month now because school has gotten me into a pretty steady routine (which I already wrote about). However, over the past couple of weeks I have done a few new, exciting things:
1) I went to an orphanage with the other four American exchange students as well as a few Malian students who had been to the US last year. The orphanage was a little different than most of the orphanages in the US in that the children were placed into “families” of about 5 to 10 children per household, with each household run by a “mom” and an “auntie” The orphanage was a village within itself, made up of dozens of compounds, housing over one hundred children. During our visit, we took a tour, met a few of the families, and then for one of our community service projects we planted trees.
2. I turned 18! I didn’t do too much for my birthday, however my host mom got me one of the engraved silver bracelets that I’ve seen many Malians wearing, and my host brother brought me a pair of Arab slippers from Morocco; two very nice gifts, much appreciated. We also had a very delicious cake as well to top it off!
3. Today was Tabaski, better known as Eid al-Adha, which is an Islamic holiday celebrating Abraham’s sacrifice to Allah. In the story, Allah asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Ishmael, and when Abraham shows his willingness to do so, Allah, pleased with Abraham’s devotion, allows him to sacrifice a goat instead. So, in honor of the story, the Malians sacrifice a goat and spend all day feasting.
I can’t even begin to explain how much meat I ate today. My host dad and host brothers killed the goat around 9:00 or 10:00 am, and since then we have been eating non-stop! I ate fried goat, stewed goat, barbequed goat, goat with stuffing inside, goat with rice, goat with bread and sauce, etc, etc ,etc… We ate pretty much every type of dish that you could possibly make with a goat. They were all extremely delicious (especially the barbecued dish), but I’m so full that I don’t think that I want to see another goat for at least a few weeks!
Also, how is it already November? My time here in Mali is going so fast!!