Ramadan is OVER! Happy holiday to all. Well it was over on Sunday, but I’m a little late on posting…please excuse me.
As a resident of Garoua, living right next to a mosque, I feel very close to Ramadan and Islamic traditions. This year, I tried to fast…but I only lasted like 4 days. But making the effort to fast helped me pay more attention to the details of Ramadan. Today, I’m going to share some of my favorite tidbits about Ramadan in Garoua.
- Breakfast is at 4:30 in the morning. I’ve never heard my neighborhood be so lively than right before dawn during Ramadan. I can hear the children waking up, pots clanging, and smell the fried goodness of beans and beignets and the sweet sweet smell of boule (pronounced bou-yee). All that action makes you want to get up.
- People nap EVERYWHERE! Napping happens. It’s generally accepted just about anywhere at any time. You may walk into a boutique and find the shopkeeper napping. That’s fine! Just nudge him and he’ll get right to helping you find your products. Also, all shady spots in town become communal napping areas. You see children carrying out plastic rugs to these shady spots every morning and people just plopping down to have a rest. I love it.
- Around 4:30 pm food starts appearing again. Children and women selling corn or beignets walk around the entire neighborhood selling their food. People buy it and then keep it in a container until after 6:30 pm. For some reason, I find it adorable when my friends buy food and squirrel it away for later BUT always offer me some before they do. They always say my eating in front of them doesn’t offend them, but the guilt gets me every time.
- Generosity. I was on a bus during Ramadan and the trip ended up taking longer than it should have. The driver purchased some street food at one of our stops and saved it to share with all of the passengers when it was time to break the fast. I thought this was such a kind gesture. Everyone was so happy to share the food together.
So those are my favorite things about Ramadan in Garoua. They help make up for the 1 am prayer that wakes me up every night. And, it’s probably one of the things I will miss most when I go home. I was reminded on Sunday that this is my last Ramadan in Cameroon, so I better enjoy it. I’m glad to say that I did.