Happy New Year!
We went to the Central Mosque of Banjul January 1, 2010 (Imam Thierno Ka presiding). It was the first Friday in the Muslim New Year. It was also the first day of the Gregorian calendar year too. I was in the bleachers with the women (smile); however, I stood and looked from the enclosed space at the men below, the imam in what I'm told is a "minbar." Looked like a phone booth...in Gambia I actually saw some, but I digress.
I am doing a study on toilets, just because it is so hard to find one here. A kind family let me use their toilet before prayer. There is no public bathroom at the masjid (mosque). I found this strange, but have learned to roll with it, as in everything--"jere jef" or thanks on my lips as strangers let me use their bathrooms. I also try to leave a few dollars with the children or woman of the house, which I did Friday--Youmal Juma.
Pictured with me is one of the brothers of the lovely family I am staying with, Assan Bojang. Moudo Jerre-Faye, the elder, invited me back for the New Year, and as I hadn't been inside a mosque, Arabic, masjid since I' ve been in Africa, I thought this would be a nice thing to do, and it was despite the segregation (the womanist in me is speaking now). I hear only elder women attend Juma, but this Friday was a nice exception.
Moudo is with his aunt, Hady Maney in one of the photos.
The caretaker saw us looking in after Juma was over and invited us in to take photos, what a coup (smile). It was too cool. I had a great time in the capital. We'd missed Juma with President Yahya Jammey, but Juma at the Grand Mosque built by the king of Saudi Arabia, at one time, President Jammey's running buddy (my language), was a good second choice (smile).
We met my good friend, Pape or Mouhammedou Niang at the ferry in Banjul and then the four of us hung out watching the masquerade (more later, it's almost 2 AM here.) I couldn't take photos of any of the ritual--the egungun (Yoruba), koump (Jula)--I'll have to get back to you on the Gambian name.
Dressed as antelope, with attendants in orange on one end of the block, purple on the opposite, drummers on either end as well, the pageantry was really impressive as the masque proceeded.
The photos are from the events of the day: slaughter house, masque, Juma Prayer.