Monday, July 16, 2007

People... Ideas...

Well there's lots of them! - both the people and the ideas. And they come from everywhere - the women in the hair salon, the men at the dinner table, the djembe (drum) players. So here's a selection of interesting thoughts I've come across....

1 - Osama bin Laden does not exist. Seriously. One of the guys that frequent my house, El-Amin (there are many people who are part of the extended family and come to eat and are always in and out) told me he seriously believes that Osama bin Laden is a creation of the Pentagon. The whole thing is just one big conspiracy, he says. I'd never heard anyone say that before, and I was shocked! He and the others also seemed to believe that Al-Qaeda itself didn't really exist and if it did, that it couldn't be that bad!!!
2 - Polygamy is acceptable. Many of the men here have more than one wife. And it's normal. People talk about their father's "other wife" without embarassment. In the house I live in, the father has one wife in the house, another wife down the street, and a third who died 7 years ago. I was asking one of my friends if her mother and her father's other wife get along. She said they were friends, but they fought at lot.
3 - Many people have lost their mothers. I've met about three or four people so far whose mothers aren't alive. I'm sure there are many, many more. They don't usually say much more, but I suspect in some cases it's because they died of AIDS or some other disease that they don't like to talk about. And that is also considered just a fact of life. And they move on.
4 - Families are huge! My latest friend - Ndieme - who braided my hair for me, has 17 brothers and sisters (of course, not all from the same mother, but all from the same father)... Crazy !
5 - Many people have grade 6 education. A lot of the people I meet, who seem normal (ie. not poverty stricken and starving) have nothing more than a grade 6 education. The musicians, the hairdressers, etc. It's funny, another of my friends, Ndeye, (also from the hair salon), told me she wants her daugther to go to university. When I asked her why she didn't, she said she just wasn't interested. She wanted to work instead. It's the case for many people here, although many have impecable French despite the limited schooling. For most, Wolof is their native tongue, but French is a close second. I thought nowadays people stayed in school longer, but I guess that's still not the case.
6 - Stepfathers fall in love with their wives' daughters. This happens not uncommonly here, from what I hear. One singer had a music video about it, and that's how we got started on the topic. But apparently it's an issue. The girl often doesn't want anything to do with him, but in some cases, she does in fact have a relationship with the stepfather, and hides it from her mother. Can you believe?

Anyways, my eyes are being opened to new and interesting ideas everyday. So there's a taste!


Fresca said...

that's wild! believable but wild!
MEGAPHONE: email me! i miss u!

Asif said...

Heba, your blog is so interesting to read. I don't think I've ever learned more in a 30 minute period in my life than I did in catching up on your blog. It is nice to see that you are able to put a positive twist on even the rough moments (as many as there may be). I hope you post some more pictures when you get a chance.

Miss ya,


Still.Searching said...

So what happened from Monday to thursday? You can't just leave your readers in suspense!

Ryan said...

Wild stuff Hebs. I'm really glad you are keeping this blog. Here is a question. Men have multiple wives, does that mean its okay for guys to have multiple girlfriends too?