l3id, waiting on the moon

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on September 10, 2010

“mbarak llah washir” is the greeting people say to each other for l3id. Thank you afrmli Ahmed for teaching that to me. I have no idea what it means but people break out into smiles and, dare I say it, impressed when I say it.

Yesterday, Muslims around the world were waiting on the moon to decide whether last night or tonight would mark the end of Ramadan. Luckily, the moon declared last night as the end of Ramadan. Today marks L3id n Ramadan.

I spent the morning at my host family’s house. I arrived before 8:00am, having been told by my host grandmother to arrive early. Upon arrival, I greeted everyone. Seeing no one around, the non-fasting creepy man greeted me by kissing the back of my hand, a greeting gesture normally reserved for elders. It happened too quickly for me to register at the moment but, and this is a completely warranted reaction, EWWWWWW. He actually repulses me. (Apologies for the harsh language but it’s true.)

While the women woke up early and spent the entire morning cooking, it was the men who got to eat first. They ate in the upstairs room while women and children, myself included, waited in the room downstairs until the men were done. After the men “vacated” the room, women and children were “allowed” to go upstairs. We ate what they didn’t want. Put in another way, we got their leftovers. There was still plenty of food to eat.

However, it’s the stark gender roles here that often infuriate me. Perhaps that’s why I enjoy going to houses headed by widows and women. At least then, there’s more of a gender balance. Of course, there are some families here in which gender roles are less defined. I enjoy visiting those too.

After breakfast, the men went to the mosque and subsequently gathered in an open patch of land because there were so many of them. I accompanied my host grandmother and one host sister to the hill behind the house to observe the men. What a sight – the men conducting prayer, listening to the imam (religious leader), and singing in unison.

My house is my sanctuary. Sometimes, though, it makes me forget how wonderful it feels to visit houses and spend time with people. Today’s community interaction:

  • I already mentioned my host family.
  • I hung out on my front steps with a few neighborhood kids. Fatima, Ahmed, and…I forget the other boy’s name. Nayema maybe? In the process, I greeted many people coming and going between my house and souk.
  • 3 times my front door was knocked on by kids. Most this has happened; surely, this will not be the last.
  • I visited my favorite (young) family.
  • I had dinner with Zayneb (woman who works at the taounia and is always nice), her children, and their cousins. Her daughter showed me a picture of herself and peers in a class picture taken during elementary school. Out of a class of 30 pupils, there were only 5 girls. All 30 of them completed primary school. From there, 3 went on to attain a high school diploma. Now, only 2 are studying at the university level. At the very bottom, that means 25 of these people only have an elementary-school education level. Yet another hard pill to swallow.
  • I called my CBT host family to wish them a Happy l3id!

I’m going to make more time for people here.

Tonight, I relaxed on my roof with a steamy cup of Roobois tea. The night sky is s beautiful here, I wish I could take a picture of it. It’s so vast and filled with twinkling stars. The Milky Way streams in the night sky directly above my house.


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