Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Very First Day

Our first "day" of Ramazan I knew would be quiet, so I had bought ingredients to make salsa the night before when we crossed the foot bridge.

My neighbors had told me they would stay up until the 3am call to prayer and then go to sleep to start training their body for the month-long fast and switching of nights and days.  However, I don't think the smaller kids did too well staying up this first night.  After our two hour language session, my 9-year old neighbor must have been bored with her family all sleeping while she was awake, so she and another friend knocked on our gate.

I invited them in.  I was making salsa, and they wanted to know if they could do "Just Dance" like her sisters had the night before.

They had fun, but they insisted they could only do 3 dances because it made them so hot and they couldn't drink anything.

(Note: Parents decide when their children are old enough to begin the fasting process during Ramazan.  It's different for every child and family.  These girls did fast the first day, but I don't think they did it too many days.  I'm writing this on Day 20, and I have seen them consuming a lot of different things during daylight hours).

They then became very interested in the salsa-making process.  They especially enjoyed watching the blender mix it all together.

Eventually, two more girls showed up at the gate.  I couldn't serve them anything, but they did have a "tea party" with Keira.

My girls had dance class from 7-9pm this night, but they were the only two girls who showed up.  The time for breaking fast this first night, happened to be 7:22pm.  With the change of schedule (even in the work environment), the dance teacher changed the time (and day) to earlier for this month, and even then, only the dancers who were German, Japanese, British, or American came.

When we got home at 9pm, the girls ate quickly.  I put Keira to bed, and then we went to an American friends' house who had invited us and our neighbors over for a game of Ticket to Ride.

Our girls and the other American girls talked mostly in their language.  I'm so proud of how far they've come.

Only one of the older girls came because the other was still in school, and she needed to study!!

Can you imagine staying up all night, and still trying to get up for school in the morning?  Not only that, but it's hot during the day, and these students can't eat or drink, and they are expected to pay attention and perform.

I'm writing this on Day 20 of Ramazan, and I know of SEVERAL secondary schools that JUST finished their school year YESTERDAY!

A few members of our family fasted this first day as we prayed for our neighbors during their fast.

As my American neighbor (Jennifer*) and I talked to our national neighbor (Jasmine*), Jasmine asked me if I had fasted that day.  I told her, "Yes."  But then I added that I was a follower of Isa, and I had fasted that day specifically to pray for her and her family to draw closer to God during their time of Ramazan.

This was such a blessing, because it opened up a spiritual conversation that lasted about an hour.  Granted, my friend Jennifer did most of the talking, but it was a good beginning of other conversations that continued to happen during this special month of prayer.

At 12:30am, we left the house, and as we were walking home with Jasmine and her girls, her girls asked if we wanted to go downtown for ice cream.  I did not, but my girls did.

They got in the car with Jasmine's older son, his wife, and the two teenage girls.  They returned about an hour later, but they stayed outside talking in the street.  They did all of this in the local language!   They came in around 2am, we heard their stories, and then we all went to bed.

Day 1 done.

There have been many long (but good) nights like this one.

Perhaps that is why I haven't blogged in over a week.

*names changed

No comments: