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ambivalent Ramadan

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So Sunday was the first day of Ramadan (in Burkina Faso at least) and I wished MoBob "Ramadan Moubarak" on the phone to distant Burkina Faso.

Unfortunately I find Ramadan season difficult. Perhaps because I myself am not a fasting Muslim (although my tribe dedicates the first Sunday of every month to this spiritual exercise).

When I was in Morocco, Ramadan was a logistical nightmare. Schedules changed and something as simple as going to the grocery store was a huge ordeal. Stores were open limited hours or were closed altogether, and transport was a nightmare. I learned by my third year to follow Moroccan women's habits by stocking up as much in advance as possible. Ramadan also increased significantly their workload because of all the special meals that had to be prepared and frequent visitors and visits. And despite the religious significance of Ramadan, people were very grumpy and short-tempered. I'm sure there are statistics somewhere that show that traffic accidents increase as the moment to break the fast approaches since everyone's in such a hurry to get home.

Ramadan for MoBob outside of Morocco presented different challenges. When we were in Burkina Faso (and this is his third Ramadan there now) he was away from the collective social pressure/cohesion/support for the first time. While many Burkinabé are Muslim, not everyone fasted. Often he was the only one. My poor MoBob! This year he is living with Moroccans in both Ouahigouya (the Peace Corps training site) and Ouagadougou, so he doesn't have to put up with my "quick and easy harira" anymore.
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On September 27th, 2006 03:36 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
MoBob says Ramadan Mubarek? I thought in general IndoPaks say that and Arabs say Ramadan Karim.

I hear you about the logistical challenges of Ramadan. I've always quite liked it, maybe because I sometimes fast. Everyone is so warm and friendly. Of course, they can be grumpy while fasting, as you point out. But it's so social and everyone gets invited everywhere for breakfast and transport is open much later as you gather in parks to talk, play games and eat! It's always fun trying to guess who's fasting and who isn't based on their energy levels.
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On September 27th, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Yep! Ramadan Moubarek.

I understand that Ramadan is different in different countries. Friends I knew in Morocco who also lived in Egypt said that Egypt (or Cairo rather) doesn't shut down during the break the way Morocco does.
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On September 27th, 2006 03:37 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
Oh yeah, how come your people fast on the first Sunday of the month? I never knew that. What type of fast is it? Thanks for sharing.
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On September 27th, 2006 02:56 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Here's some info on fast and testimony meeting. I guess it's a pretty unique phenomenon - I always find it incredibly spiritual. No water or food for two meals on the first Sunday of every month.
On September 29th, 2006 10:52 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) replied:
i am with you on Ramadan
It's really my least favorite time of the year here in Morocco. Everyone is so crabby by day and honestly, you can't blame them..I'd be crabby,too.PS So glad Ifinally got on your blog. Yippee!
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