Ramadam in the second homeland.

I hope it’s okay to comment on a period such as this but it strikes me as such an important time which has consumed my temporary home greatly. Knowing that family friends who used to live in a Muslim country would always come back to the UK for this period, I must admit I was feeling a bit of dread before this time. First (selfish) thoughts were of panic buying food beforehand just in case, as I was told numerous times that things would just shut down in the day time. In Ramadam, from sunrise to sunset nothing will pass their lips, no food or water (5am-7.45pm ish).

We are now coming into the second week and to be honest things aren’t that different. The boutique at the bottom of our building is still open and most restaurants and stall owners are still here. My colleagues are mostly surprisingly chirpy, just rather tired at times. There is a lot less banging in the apartment above! As more than 90% of the country are Muslim, it is amazing to see how everyone has rallied together to support each other. The best examples of this are how the fast is broken in the evening. The first time we were out and about, Vickie and I took a walk to the port to go grocery shopping. The sun must’ve set just as we got to the checkouts as one of the staff came running around giving every member of staff a date to break their fast. I felt relief for them! On our way home there were many groups of people sharing their meal together, with a large number inviting us to join.

The second time I was out at sunset, I was taking a taxi up to Almadies. Normally at about half 7 there would be so much traffic and it would take at least 40 minutes, but it only took 20 as I everyone was at home sharing their dinner. As we got to the big roundabout there were a mass of people shoving cups of coffee and bread into the hands of the drivers through the windows to help break their fast. It was amazing to see! (If I’d known what the time was I would’ve left later but I was in my own little world)

My only minor issue I have is that some expats still sit and eat outside restaurants in the day. Yes I may not be joining them but it is not cool essentially dangling a carrot to the people who are committing to Ramadam.  A large number of people ask me if I am joining them on the fast on daily basis.  Fasting to me is a fantastic way to seek God and I have done so before with different levels of success, and I would love to join in. I just physically can’t currently because of the heat! I should add it to my Dakar Bucket list before I leave.  However, it is potentially much worse to do in the UK where the sun rises at before 4am and sets after 9pm!


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