Monday, October 8, 2012

Iftar at home (some things never change)

My stay back home has been very pleasant. I am spending half the time at my in laws and the other half with my parents and brother. As I was telling you in earlier post the last time I spent Ramadan with my family was back in March 1999. I managed to spend Eid back in 2001 with them but that was about it. So getting to spend Iftar again with my family after such a long time was a blessing.
Iftar at home was always a pleasure. My Dad would go out of his ways to buy us delicacies fit for a king. And my Mother would cook us succulent dishes. Back in those days we did not fast much my brothers and I for we were still young. However that did not stop us from partaking in the feast. Usually my Dad would drink hot milk tea, my Mother coffee and us the kids would get hot chocolate. Then we would all eat bread with butter, lunch meat, cheese and sometimes fried eggs. After that feast, we would rest for a while, my Dad would pray and my mother would rush to finish her dinner. Dinner was usually a local dish on weekdays and the fancy treat of Jolof rice on Saturdays and fried chicken on Sundays. 
After almost 13 years, I thought that Iftar back home would be different. My family is a lot smaller, we used to be 7 or 8 people lliving in our house, now we are just 4. My Dad although still having a full set of black hair seems smaller and tinier. And him who was a workaholic is retired now. My mother is hiding her grey hair underneath her moussor and she had lost a lot of weight. My younger brother is an adult ready to spread his wings and fly if only...The house is falling apart here and there but if you are new to it you would not notice because every space on the walls is covered with some paintings or statues my Dad brought back from Eastern Africa (where he used to work). We have a live in maid now, who is a relative.
Yet, with all those changes, Iftar managed to be the same.
Before it is time to break the fast, the maid and my mother would set the breakfast table with boxes of powder milk, cocoa, coffee, sugar, butter, French bread, dates, and the thermos with hot water. Noticing all this, I was kidding asking where was the lunch meat, thinking that there wasn't any. Then my Dad asked the maid to take it out of the fridge. You will have to understand that even when we were kids, lunch meat was a luxury that we did not have everyday except during Ramadan time. Imagine now years later living in a world with perpetual financial crisis, I did not imagine that my family still afforded that luxury. Boy was I wrong! On top of having lunch meat, they also had loaf of bread, which contrary to French bread is also a delicacy. There I was sitting at this table trying to drink my milk tea when I see my Dad making his cup the same way he used to all these years: mixing powder milk with a little bit of hot water and making a paste out of it before adding more hot water and tea. I was back in 1999. Right then and there, I could have cried of hapiness, because this is exactly what I call hapiness: coming back to the house you grew up and realise that some things did not change. It made me feel safe. Alas I was too hungry to dwell on this. So I praised the LORD and went back to my milk tea....


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