Last week my host sister Asstou had a baby. She lives in the distant village of Poram, about 27 kilometers North of Xol Xol in the direction of… nothing. I’ve been wanting to visit her out there ever since I first met her last Korite, but I’ve never had the opportunity. This baptism was exactly what I had been waiting for, so Margaret and I packed up for a family road-trip into the great unknown.
Turns out Poram is about what I expected: a tiny town grown up around a water tower. I’m not sure there is any reason to live there other than the fact that it is close to the water source. There are about three family compounds at the center, and several families come from the surrounding area daily to get the water they need or to bring their animals in to drink. It was a pretty interesting mixture of Wolof and Pulaar living together and sharing the small school and health hut. Apparently many people currently living in Xol Xol consider Poram to be where they come from. Their grandparents and great grandparents lived there, but moved to Xol Xol because it was closer to everything. Asstou ended up living out there because our dad’s parents still live out there, and so she was married to a young man who lives there as well.
It was a fun day, lots of laax and sow (yogurt and porridge, traditional baptism food) and singing and dancing in honor of the new momma.
Then… President Macki Sall came to the Djolof! NOT. He bailed at the last minute. Turns out we’re not fancy enough for him out here. One of his ministers came instead, which was still a huge party. Cars full to bursting with people rolled into Linguère in droves, many of them with speakers blaring music mounted on their roofs. The people of Xol Xol arrived in their brand new matching outfits mid-morning, and Margaret and I spent the day with them eating fancy party rice and dancing our support for Ali Ngouille Ndiaye. He was supposed to give a speech around 3 pm, but we gave up and went home at 5. I heard the music start up in earnest around 6:30 so I’m assuming the real political rally took place then.
Good times in the Djolof!
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain