Nguente (ngen-tay) is a Muslim baby naming ceremony. Luckily, my host family who were Muslim had a baby on our 2nd day. After a week, they had a big “nguente”; until the ceremony, the baby had no name. Supposedly, an imam comes to the house and cites the Koran; this is called “tudu”. And also, traditionally, a griot- oral story teller- comes and tells the history of the family. I and Rohini had to leave the house because we had to go to the wrestling match but we got to see the preparation portion of the ceremony.
It was really busy and loud morning. I woke up to the sound of the ladies talking, laughing, and cooking downstairs. There were at least 7-8 maids cooking. Our host mom was dressed up and busy ordering people around. Our host family had bought a sheep about 4 days before the ceremony and it was no where to be found that morning. There was no man in the house. When I went outside to buy a baguette, I saw men sitting under the trees talking and having a good time. Later I asked Even who spoke fluent French what they were talking about, he said politics. I thought men are the same all around the world J Anyway, I stayed with the ladies. They were dressed up really nicely. It was bling bling everywhere. They would just randomly start drumming with the plastic chair and chant with rhythm. Later I found out that they usually have loud music and dancing in these rituals but since there was death in the neighbor recently, they weren’t doing music or dancing that day. I noticed that not only neighbors but the family of the baby’s mother also came into town. It was a very joyous occasion for the whole neighborhood. Our host mom insisted on us staying a littler longer and eating the food. So we did.. even though we were little late to our meeting. It was delicious. When we came back from the wrestling game, people were still there. They all had changed their outfits. Some of the ladies changed their outfit 3-4 times a day. It was like a live fashion show. Oh! The baby was named “Bamba Evan.” They named the baby boy after the exchange student from MN. It was so sweet of them. Now he needs to go back and visit Evan Jr. from time to time.