Authors note: I had this idea of doing Ramadan journals, but I wanted to keep some thoughts to myself. However, I still wanted share a bit. Here’s the first of my “public” journal entries.
There’s this garden of mine (I constantly talk about in my work), and this garden has taught me a lot about myself. I have planted so many seeds in this garden that I sometimes forget what each seed represents. I had to pause before watering each seed. I had to know why I planted each of those seeds in my garden. One of those seeds, I realized was patience. I always gave myself a pat on the back because I thought I was a patient person. However, that was not the case. I became of aware of when I wanted to be patient. Is selective patience a thing? No? Okay. I am patient when waiting in line at any store. I am patient when speaking with children. I am patient with my loved ones. I am patient when I want to. I am just not patient with myself.
The question now becomes how can one be patient with themselves? How do I give myself grace? To start off, I really needed to be patient with myself in regards to processing my emotions. I sometimes get frustrated when I do not meet this “deadline” of processing how I feel. There shouldn’t be a deadline of when to be patient with yourself. I should give myself the time needed to feel, to grow, and to move forward.
When I was younger, I had this vision- of being a successful, educated African woman. I had my entire life figured out. Finish school, get the job, and the husband. I talk about marriage a lot on here because my life is no longer the sunshine and rainbows after each rain storm. It is now centered around marriage. It is impossible for me to run away from. At the age of 19, I had the option of not making marriage the center of my life, because I was in school. I was able to close the door, but not all the way. When I finished undergrad, I opened the door once again, and I opened it by force. Even when I knew, I was not emotionally or mentally ready. I was 22, ready to find him without any self-prep and understanding of what I was looking for. Throughout the journey of looking, people told me to just stop and wait, he will find me instead. Yet, that’s easier said than done, especially when you’re shunned for not having a husband at your age.
After understanding the Soninke caste system and knowing my parents would decide my fate, I became depressed. I talked to one person about it because she is also dealing with the same issue. The thought of satisfying your parents in every part of your life, even if it means sacrificing your passions, goals, and love interests, is terrifying. It’s complex, when you think about it. You have this idea that if you do everything your parents want from you, success will be at the end of the tunnel. You’re doing everything right. Yet, at the end of that same tunnel, guess who is smiling? Your parents.
I remember having my first discussion on marriage with my father. It was light. I approached him, knowing as his first and only daughter, he would want the best for me. When I asked my father about marriage, the man said to me, “As long as the guy you want is Muslim and African.” But, that was 19. As I was leaving 23, to embrace 24, the conversation no longer felt light. The conversation shifted to what my parents wanted, specifically my father. I kept begging for them to see me, as their child, their daughter. What of my happiness? What of my future? I was silenced, and told what was best for me. I struggled to understand why my father lied to me in the first place. I struggled to understand how I could win this battle.
September came and went, as I embraced the coldness. The coldness of my parents. Months went by, and I joked and laughed with my friends about finding me a husband. Yet, inside, I felt lost. Alone. Confused. Angry, and despondent. I was so defeated, I decided to talk to my parents once more. This time, I let them win the battle they started. I told them to find someone for me, and my father smiled. I did not realize the second door that I had just opened.
Arranged marriage, as my parents believe, is okay. It’s the, “I choose what is best for you.” I learned a lot about arranged marriage when I was younger. And, as I got older, I realized how much arranged marriage is embedded in my culture. Yet, it looks so different. Masked as if the girl has a choice, but she doesn’t. It’s never her choice, it’s her parents and relatives choice, because it’s the, “I choose what is best for you.” I choose your cousin for you, I choose this other relative for you, I choose this man because he comes from a wealthy family, I choose.
But when will I ever get to choose? In my dreams?
My father brought a man, and my mother brought a man. I am pulled and tugged at either direction to “choose” whom I “want.” Now, it has shifted to which parent are you willing to make proud. It was never about my happiness. It was never about what was actually best for me. It was never about me. It was about my parents, and their need to control. It was about my parents, wanting to live through me.
The energy I once had to fight for what I believe in, to fight for what is right, to fight for what I want, is long gone. Everyday I hear the same words, “You need to talk to them [your parents].” Or, usually, I will hear, “You need to fight, and marry who you want.” That is easier said than done. I’ve even thought about moving to Colorado and marrying someone without my parents knowledge (obviously it’s not going to happen).
It is my choice. For now, that’s what I continue to tell myself. I can fight, and maybe one day win the battle. But, for now, I will close the two doors, and focus on what I want for myself. Focus on what is best for me.
Author’s Note: Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. You are awesome and I hope you are doing well. Thank you for your support.
A part of me knows that if you were still alive, you would teach me how to be an African woman. Not one who followed all traditions and cultural rules, but one who can defy all of it without hesitation. I talk about being an African woman in America. Mama Diakha, I want to know what it’s like being an African woman in Africa. It’s easy to travel back to Senegal, live like an African woman, but it’s not the same. It’s easy to read all the books about your history, but it’s not the same. It’s easy to take care of my household, but it’s not the same. Mama, I wish you were here to share your knowledge with me. Something my own mother fails to do. She hoards the stories I crave to know all to herself. I have failed countless of times, wondering if you were really watching over me. Yearning your soft comfort, and telling me everything will be fine. Mama, I’ve learned the traditions you’ve practiced a little too late. I’m not sure if I should follow these same traditions; however, do I even have a choice?
I know the woman I want to become, but I am afraid Mama. The thought of fully embracing the new woman is terrifying. She is an independent woman, who knows what it means to finally be free from the shackles of being a first born African daughter. She fully immerses herself in the love and care that Allah has given her. She doesn’t let her parents stop her from truly being herself.
Mama Diakha, I tried to marry a man once. I prayed, and did everything right. I asked Allah to guide me. Yet, there was an unexpected battle. I couldn’t fight it. If you were here, I would imagine you telling me, “my dear, the person that Allah has written for you will come in due time.” I weeped, waiting for someone to comfort me. I’ve experienced heart aches, but this one was different. I let myself forget in order to “heal.” I convinced myself what happened was not real, it was a painful nightmare. But I woke up every morning wondering when this feeling would ever go away.
I think I have healed. Letting the thoughts slowly drift away. Constantly distracting myself waiting for something new and exciting to bring me joy. I continue to ask myself questions, which are difficult to answer. Will I ever be the African woman my mother tried raising me to be? Will I be able to just be? Never having to worry about the pressures of my community. My culture. My people.
If I truly embrace this new woman, will I ever embody the true African woman our culture desires?
Mama, I wish you were here with me. And, if you are watching over me, I pray that you continue.
Hello! I hope you are doing well! In this blog post, I am sharing some of the things I learned this year. Everything I learned is from my own experience. Enjoy 🙂
The unknown is uncomfortable, unsettling, but it is okay.
I don’t know how many times I am going to be learning this, but I need to stop rushing my life. Stop thinking that I need to have everything figured out by this age. I am only 23. I only have a few things figured out. It took me five years to finally decide which career path I want to go into. You were probably told this multiple times. Well, I guess we have to keep learning this same lesson. Last year, I wanted to be married with at least one or two kids. I know- unrealistic right? But, it was a dream. I realized I wasn’t even ready for all of that. It is okay to not know. The unknown is uncomfortable, unsettling, but it is okay. You don’t have to know everything. Where’s the fun in that?
Live in the present, not the past and definitely not the future.
I love living in the future. The husband, the kids, the house, the career. As if those things equate to happiness. I couldn’t wait for those things to happen- the wedding, the childbirth, getting a house and the job will finally make me happy. But, how do those things guarantee happiness? Who told me that I was finally going to be happy when I reach that point in my life? Well, don’t answer that. It was me. And then, I snap out of it all. I blink a few times and look at my surrounding. Look at the people around me, think of the job I have now, basically, everything I have and I breathe. I can dream and want things to happen, especially to accomplish certain milestones. But, guess what? It is okay to live in the present. Try to enjoy your present. I do understand that sometimes, it is hard to enjoy the present, especially with our current circumstances. Just pause, and breathe.
If it was not meant to be, and you know it wasn’t, stop forcing it.
You know how many times I realized something was not meant to be and I STILL forced it?
When I did this, I was honestly hurting myself. Sometimes, we know when something is not meant to be. We know. Yet, we force it because we do not want to let go. This can be for anything. Why force something that is not working out? Sometimes, it is wasted energy and effort.
I attract broken people because I am broken.
And that is the truth. I didn’t learn this until months ago when I realized there was this pattern in my dating life. The constant need to help someone even if they never asked for the help. The people I had in my life were still trying to figure things out, and I always thought I could help. Yet, I didn’t even have my shit figured out. I kept deflecting, not really focusing on myself, but always on my partner. This, of course, was not fair. I had to learn to stop. I am not a healer. My garden isn’t flourished yet, so I cannot water another person’s garden, especially when I am running out of water.
Being petty takes too much energy. Ion like dat.
I am so proud of myself for the amount of times I apologized when I was in the wrong. I grabbed it, owned it, and gave myself a pat on the back. However, I cannot lie and say it was easy. Sometimes we let our pride get the best of us. Should I really apologize or should I be petty? Being petty takes too much energy. When you are wrong, it’s important to apologize. What harm will it do? Accountability will not come and bite you. Your actions may have hurt someone, and if you know you were wrong, take the first step and APOLOGIZE.
Setting goals with action steps is crucial.
I always start the new year with long term goals but throughout the year I also have short term goals. I can create a list of goals and FEEL accomplished for writing them down, but if I do not have action steps behind those goals, it feels harder to accomplish them. Action steps have made my life so much easier. Think of action steps as the baby steps of reaching your goal. I can say my goal is to publish a book, but if I do not plan it and create the steps necessary to help me succeed, then my goal and I will just have a staring contest. To be honest, this takes time to get used to, and it can be time consuming. However, it makes accomplishing your goal easier.
My culture will choose my future husband.
So I wrote about my people’s long tradition of the caste system. But, I wrote about it regarding marriage (there’s more to the caste system). And get this! That was only half of it. After talking to different suitors this year, I finally settled on someone. I was super excited, and ready to do things the right way. At the time, I thought I found my “perfect match.”
Homeboy pulled out all of the tricks, and was romantic, in his own way. I told my parents I finally found someone. For some reason, when I did that, I immediately regretted it. My heart broke in so many ways when my parents gave me the red light. Not to be dramatic, but I thought my world ended at that point. I want you all to know that my parents told me two years ago I can marry anyone I wanted as long as they were Muslim and African. Here we are. According to the people that brought me into this world, I can only marry someone within my tribe and is on the same level as I in the caste system. I’m still processing it because there’s a big part of me that wants to get rid of these traditions. Yet, I do not have the power to do so, especially when I do not have support behind me. This lesson was a heavy hitter, almost as if I was in a boxing ring with my culture and the more I fought it, the more I kept getting KO’d. Will I keep fighting? Yes, I will. I can’t give up.
Some of the characters in your book do not always enter the next chapter.
This one is hard. Sometimes, when I am entering a new chapter, there are characters that cannot enter the new chapter. Throughout my life, I have learned that a lot of people come and go. It hurts especially when your relationship with that person was meaningful. It is honestly just life. And guess what? It is okay. As you grow, there are people in your life that grow with you and others who do not. Sometimes though, it can be the other way around. You may not enter someone’s new chapter. And guess what? Did you guess? Need more time? Well, it is okay. I’ve accepted that some of the characters in my book do not always enter the next chapter.
Embracing my new self.
I recently questioned my relationship with myself. I was wondering why all my other relationships were failing.
How can I enhance my relationships with others when the relationship with myself is terrible? Am I learning more about myself? Not just binging The Office or Grey’s Anatomy, but actually doing activities that help me learn more about myself. Am I taking care of my body? Am I giving the same empathy and caring for others to myself? It was not fair to provide so much love and attention to others, but not to myself. It didn’t even make sense. The other day, as I was reflecting, I laughed at the fact that it took a coaching session for me to realize I was a different person. I have changed, and for the past year, I felt so uncomfortable because I did not accept this new Diakha. She’s different. And for so long, I held onto the old Diakha, as she was stopping me from so many opportunities. As I flip through these next few pages in my book, I want to embrace this new me. I want to work on my relationship with myself. It will be rough in the beginning, but the journey will be beautiful and worth it.
I have come this far, and for that, I am grateful.
Thank you for reading! Your support means everything to me. Remember to take care of yourself and stay safe. Love, Diakha.
Taking the bus to my mother’s hair braiding salon every Saturday and Sunday was a wonderful experience. Or on some weekends, when he was not working, my father would drop my mom and I off. Helping my mother at home and in the salon was satisfying. Always near her side at the age of twelve. As the first born and only daughter, my parents gave me all their attention. Positive and negative. However, I would say mainly negative.
In the home, you would think I was the only child. My parents gave little attention to my younger brothers. As a girl, you must cook. You must clean. You must be near your mother’s side. You must come home early. You must tell your parents where you are at all times. The attention continued as I got older. I always thought it would end, someday, my parents would just let me be. But, I thought wrong.
The older I got, the more dependent they became. I am the mother. I am the father. I am the child. I have always talked about this box in my previous posts. The box that my parents have put me in. When I first talked about this box, my goal was to reach the edge of it and be free. However, I am struggling to reach that edge. I can’t reach my freedom, not even grasp it. I have become the “yes” daughter. Yes, mama I will do that for you. Yes, papa I will do that for you. Even when I have work. Even when I have other responsibilities that must be taken care of.
And the more I think about it, there’s always this guilt. Can I leave my family to live my own life? Doesn’t that make me selfish? I have goals that I want to achieve, but I must think about my family first. If I leave now, who will take care of them? If I leave now, who will be the one to carry the household?
But, what I have come to realize is that thinking like this will not get me anywhere. I am not being selfish for leaving. I am not being selfish for living my own life. It’s quite frustrating that my parents are okay with me leaving when I get married, but not on my own. I can either continue being the yes daughter, or the daughter that will pursue her goals and become successful. I cannot keep blaming my parents for holding me back. No, at this point, I am holding myself back.
I know I must be by my mother’s side, but for how long? I was on a tricycle once, with the help of my mother. Her hand resting on my back, and her encouraging words guiding me. At 23, I am no longer on that tricycle, and my mother’s hand is now holding mine, waiting for me to lead.
I am speaking to the first born African daughters. I am speaking to the only daughters. I am speaking to the daughters who are the head of the household. You are my hero. You have done so much for your family, and I want you to know that you are appreciated. You are not alone in this. You are not selfish for making your own choices. You are not selfish for living your life. You are not selfish for taking a break and taking care of yourself.
Written by Diaka Thiam
Thank you for reading! Look out for The Six Suitors post! 🙂
Hi! We are back again with our newest series. I hope you are all well. Last time we met Mohamed, this post will focus on Khalil! Who’s your favorite suitor so far? Enjoy!
When Khalil married Fanta, Oumy was upset. He knew the consequences of marrying a second wife, but he took the risk anyway. He met Fanta at Oumy’s surprise graduation party that her family threw for her. At first, he was not invited, but Oumy’s youngest sister invited him the day of. His family in-law did not approve of him, and marrying Oumy’s best friend made it worse.
It was cliché the way they met. As he was grabbing a plate from the food section, she was grabbing onto the same plate. Their hands touched for a slight moment. He apologized quickly, but couldn’t help looking at her. He was struck by her beauty of course, but what happened next was the reason for wanting her. She laughed, and grabbed the plate.
“Don’t worry! I’ll serve you, go and have a seat please.”
Oumy had never said those words to him. Fanta was born to be a wife. His wife. Now, two years later, Fanta and Oumy lived in the same house. He stopped two sisters from speaking to one another. Did he feel guilty? Of course not. However, he felt lonely in his own home. Oumy would take care of the house on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Fanta would take care of the house the other three days. The quietness of the home made him yearn for kids. But, he had lost hope when Oumy could not have children and Fanta did not want to have any.
His solution was to marry another wife. Third times a charm right? Maybe Jeneba could give him children. Or maybe Fanta would become jealous of her and decide to finally have her own children. But, he needed to win Jeneba’s heart.
“Salaam everyone! My name is Khalil Ahmoud. There’s no need for me to introduce myself. Jeneba I’m here because I want to marry you. When you marry me, you will know the type of man I am.” Khalil said.
Jeneba scoffed. “Okay, since you do not want to introduce yourself, I’ll start asking you the questions.”
“Do you believe that women’s rights are human rights?”
Khalil blinked, wondering why he was receiving the hard question. How was he supposed to answer this? Didn’t women already have rights? No? What rights do they even need?
To get Jeneba, he needed to say what she wanted to hear. “Yes, I believe that women’s rights are human rights.”
Jeneba gave him a small smile. “Okay. What makes you angry?”
Khalil was always angry. When he would come home and his wives did not prepare him food. When he would touch his wives at night, but they weren’t in the mood. When he wanted to spend some quality time with his wives, and they would make themselves busy. He felt so lonely, it was as if he did not marry two wives.
Clearing his throat, he said, “I do not get angry easily. I am a very patient man, Jeneba. When you become my wife, you will not have to worry.”
It almost sounded believable. He couldn’t care less. He needed a younger wife. Someone that would make time for him.
“That’s all, Khalil. Thank you.” Jeneba turned to look at her uncle, Tonto Ali.
“That’s it? You only asked me two questions Jeneba!”
“You want me to ask you another question?”
“Yes, how is it fair that the other men get all the easy questions?”
“Okay, Mr. I do not need to introduce myself. How many wives do you currently have?”
Khalil’s mouth slightly opened. What did he get himself into?
Next suitor. Hamza. The Desperate Man.
What do we think about Khalil? Look out for Hamza’s story!
Hello my wonderful readers! We are back with our newest series. I hope you are all well. Last time we met Thierno, this post will focus on Mohamed’s story. Enjoy!
“For twenty-seven years, I have given myself to you. I have done everything for you Aladji and this is how you repay me?”
Mohamed always heard his mother say this after his father brought home a new wife. His father would always introduce them as his “aunts.” At the age of 13, he finally understood. When he saw his father sneaking out of his mother’s room to go into Tanti Anta’s room, he knew. There was no need to question it. His three aunties had their own room in their mid sized home, but when the siblings started to arrive, they had to move into a bigger home.
His father was a charismatic lawyer, always knew the right things to say. But he struggled with being honest. Mohamed’s mother tolerated it all for twenty-seven years. Every time his father brought home a new wife, he would lie to her and say, there was a sister of his from Senegal that was coming to America. The first “sister” he brought was twenty-one. His father went back to Senegal to marry her, then brought her to America. The entire family kept it hidden from his mom.
Mohamed knew he did not want to get married, especially to Jeneba. However, Jeneba’s father was a rich man with plenty of connections. There was an important man Jeneba’s father was in connection with, and this man is the only person that could advance Mohamed’s career. His father and Jeneba’s father were awfully close, which is how he knew about her looking for a husband.
“Mohamed Diop, please introduce yourself.” Tonto Ali said. Mohamed stood where Thierno once was, and cleared his throat.
He felt Jeneba’s gaze on him. It was now or never. “Greetings everyone, my name is Mohamed Diop. A few things about me– I am twenty-six years old. I am currently an accountant for this major company in our city. I am getting a bit older and I have decided it is time to settle down.”
Now, it was Jeneba’s turn to speak. His hands were a bit clammy. None of the suitors knew the types of questions Jeneba was going to ask. The suitors were told to just be themselves. Whatever that meant.
“Mohamed, what is something that differentiates you from the other suitors who have introduced themselves?” Excellent question. Well, he was definitely wiser, but he did not want to sound too cocky. He needed to win her over, and he had to do it by any means necessary.
He smiled. Women couldn’t resist his smile. His mother always told him how handsome he was. He hoped Jeneba paid close attention to his looks. It would give him plenty of points.
“I would make a lovely husband. I can cook very well, so you wouldn’t have to worry about that. I have a well paying job, so you never have to worry about income. One day I hope Allah grants me children. I love kids. To be your husband, Jeneba, would be an honor.” He smiled again. Award winning smile.
Jeneba’s eyes widened. “Wow, um okay you mentioned that you can cook. What African dishes can you cook?”
Was she for real? Was that really a question? Would Omlette be considered an African dish? No, he could not say that, he was already on a roll.
“I can cook thiep (jollof rice), soup kandja (okra soup), and definitely attieke. All of your favorites, beautiful.” This was too easy, and the words came out smoothly. If there was a lie detector, he would’ve been thrown out and no longer be considered a suitor.
Jeneba scoffed loudly, baffled by Mohamed’s answers. “Okay, last question for you. What would you do if your family does not accept me as your wife?”
But why was he the first suitor to receive the hardest questions? He had to be very creative. “If– emphasis on the word if– my family does not accept you, I would simply leave them. You would be my wife, and I vow to spend the rest of my life with you. I would fight to be with you every step of the way. My family can no longer dictate whom I can be with, let alone marry. My love, I assure you that you have nothing to worry about.”
Mohamed bit his bottom lip, stopping himself from grinning. There it was, the final statement. The statement that will advance his career. Soon, he would become Mr. Mohamed Sy.
Tonto Ali approached Mohamed. “Thank you for your answers, Mohamed, you may have a seat.”
Next suitor. Khalil. The polygamist.
Woah! What do you think about Mohamed? Look out for Khalil’s story in the next blog post 🙂
Hello! We are back with our newest series. I hope you are all well! Last time we met Samba, this post will focus on Thierno’s story. Enjoy!
“Never wash the dishes. Let your sisters do it!” When Thierno first heard this from his late mother, he was in the kitchen. At the age of eight, he was refrained from touching anything in the sink. He was refrained from even entering the kitchen. What did his mother call him? The Prince of the house. And his sisters were called peasants.
His sisters did everything in the house. From cooking, cleaning, cutting the grass, and taking out the trash. As the prince of the house, he was not allowed to do his sisters duties. Thierno never questioned his mother. When his mother passed away, his sisters moved out of the house. How could he be the prince of the house when he no longer had his sisters? Mariama, the oldest, got married to an American man. Bineta got an apartment with Hasinatou. Aminata, the one born before Thierno moved to her new school. All of them leaving Thierno, the baby and only boy in the house to take care of himself.
Thierno took his spot in the middle. He needed a wife, and Jeneba was perfect for him. When his uncle told him about Jeneba needing a husband, he jumped at the opportunity.
“Salaam. My name is Thierno Diallo and I am twenty-one years old. I work as a mechanic at Salif’s Mechanic Shop. I do plan on going to college to finish my education. I am young, but I know I would be a great husband for Jeneba. She needs a man like me to take of her and make her feel like a special woman. I can-“
“That’s enough.” Jeneba interrupted. Did Thierno say something wrong?
Jeneba glanced at Tonto Ali. He nodded his head, signaling something to her. She pressed her lips together tightly then opened her mouth. What was wrong? Thierno was ready to answer her questions.
“Thierno Diallo, how do you plan on supporting our household?” Jeneba asked.
Thierno smirked. An easy question. “Of course like Samba said, pay all the bills. “
“That’s all?” He was trying to understand Jeneba’s reactions. There was no smile.
“Yes, sweetheart. If I am working every day to make sure our bills are paid, you need to be taking care of me. As my wife, you would be cooking, cleaning, taking care of our many kids.” What more did Jeneba want? As an African woman, was she not raised to take care of the household? Was she not a peasant like his sisters?
“Next question, would you marry a second wife? If so, why?”
Thierno never met his father, who apparently was back in Guinea with his second wife. After he was born, his father was deported back home. Fortunately, his mother had her green card. The thought of a second wife has crossed Thierno’s mind a few times. He knew he was not financially ready for another woman. Jeneba alone was expensive.
“I would marry a second wife because I have that right as a Muslim man. But, as my wife, you do not have to worry about that until later.”
Jeneba laughed. Thierno smiled wondering what was funny. Tonto Ali gave her a stern look.
“Okay, last question- what makes you different from the other suitors sitting behind you?”
How could he answer this question? He didn’t know the other suitors well enough. He has to say something that stands out. Something the other suitors would never tell anyone unless asked.
“I am a virgin.”
The crowd laughed.
“Thank you for your answers, Thierno Diallo. You may sit down.” Tonto Ali took his place in the middle, ready to introduce the next suitor.
Mohamed. The lying man.
Look out for Mohamed’s story in the next blog post! Do we like Thierno? Thank you for reading! 🙂
Hello! We are back with our newest series. I hope you are well! Last time, Jeneba faced all of the suitors. This blog post will focus on Samba’s story. Enjoy!
Samba stood in the middle, holding his clammy hands together. He tried to stop thinking about the conversation he had with his mother this morning. It was quite discouraging. His mother wanted him to marry Jeneba. They were both from the same tribe so it would make everything easier. As his mother said, “Your children will better understand your language. You would have a wife who cooks the same meals I cook for you! You need a wife like me. Imagine that, my dear.”
“Good evening my people, elders. My name is Samba Toure. I am twenty-five years old. I am currently an engineering student at Harvard University. I will be graduating in less than a year. Jeneba and I have grown up together. She has been a friend, and I would now love for her to be my wife. Inshallah.” Samba let out a small sigh of relief. He was happy he remembered that well.
An elder cleared his throat. Was it time for the questions? Ah, Samba did not prepare for this part. Like any test he has ever taken at Harvard, he was never prepared. He always winged it.
“Samba Toure, thank you for your introductions. Jeneba will ask you three questions. You must answer them truthfully or else, you will be disqualified from being a potential suitor.” Samba nodded his head.
He watched Jeneba’s eyes move to his. They held their stare for a few seconds before Jeneba blinked. The first time he really looked at Jeneba’s dark brown eyes was in high school when he asked her to prom. Jeneba had his heart, but he did not know how to tell or show her. He walked up to Jeneba’s locker, where she stood talking to a friend. His friends were behind him, giggling. To them, Samba could never get a girl like Jeneba. Samba thought he could prove them wrong, but that was not the case. Jeneba said no.
From that day on, that hurtful rejection, Samba never pursued a girl. He let them come to him, and he toyed with their feelings. He would bring Anna to his dorm one day, then Kandy the next day. He would tell Gina he loved her, and tell Femi the same thing that same day. He had his own roster. Now that he was almost done school, his mother needed him to be serious. Who would be the perfect person? Of course, Jeneba.
“Samba, are you a virgin?” He almost wanted to laugh after Jeneba asked the question.
He contained his smile. Be truthful or lie. Where’s the fun in being truthful? “Yes, I am a virgin.” Technically, he is. The last time he had sex was one month ago. That’s a long time, in Samba’s book.
The elders side-eyed him. Oh did they know? There was no way they could prove it. Unless they asked his brother who always tells the truth.
“Samba, if we got married, how would you contribute in the house?”
Samba raised an eyebrow. Interesting set of questions. “As the head of the household, I would pay all of the bills and food that is needed. I would help with household chores as much as possible.”
“Samba, final question, if I do not want children. would you still marry me?”
What? Of course not. “Yes, I would my love.”
Tonto Ali stood up. “Thank you for your answers, Samba Toure. You may sit down.”
Samba knew he was no longer a suitor. The elders knew he bullshitted his answers. Those answers were not his best. He went to his seat with his head hung low.
“I now would like for Thierno Diallo to introduce himself.”
Thierno. The sexist man.
Look out for Thierno’s story in the next blog post! Do we like Samba or nah? Thank you for reading 🙂
Hello! New blog post, who this? I hope you are well! I wanted to change it up a bit, there’s this story I have been wanting to write for a while. I decided to make it a series on this blog. Enjoy our first post of Jeneba’s journey to choosing a husband.
Jeneba glanced at her first aunt, Tanti Ne. Her mouth was moving, forming words that Jeneba could not hear. Maybe she was praying for her. Jeneba hoped she was praying for her. Today was the day.
“Jeneba!” Tanti Ne yelled from across the room. Jeneba blinked quickly, still keeping her gaze on Tanti Ne. They were standing in Jeneba’s small room. The room she would be leaving behind soon. The room she shared with her younger sister, who was now excited to no longer share the room.
“Yes, Tanti Ne, I am listening.” She said, letting her lips curl up into a tight smile. Tanti Ne’s painted red lips curled up into a genuine smile, revealing the big gap between her two front teeth. Her dark skin covered with tinted maquillage and head wrap sitting high on her head as if a crown, she was ready.
“Everyone is waiting for you downstairs, please do not disappoint us. Your parents have chosen good men for you. I really like the tall one- what’s his name?”
Jeneba scrunched her face up. “Hamza.” She replied. Tanti Ne did not know that Jeneba knew each of these men. She was not letting her parents fool her. After her parents told her about these men, she took her time in getting to know each of them before the big day.
Tanti Ne took a few steps towards her. “May Allah choose the right husband for you.”
Why would she even say that? Jeneba thought. She bit her bottom lip to keep from making a comment. She nodded her head in agreement.
Downstairs, Jeneba sat next to her parents facing the six men. On the other side of the room, her aunts, uncles, and relatives of the men gathered. Six men. They all gazed at Jeneba. She knew she was looking good. Her royal blue dress suited her dark complexion. Each of the men wore a royal blue African attire to match Jeneba.
Jeneba felt her mother move. She stood up from her seat and faced the crowd. “I would like to thank everyone for being here today. You all know we have been searching for a husband for our first daughter. Now, we have six men who want to marry her. They will each introduce themselves to her and she will choose.”
Simple right? Too simple, especially for Jeneba. What if I never met these men? They would’ve set me up for a failed marriage.. Jeneba thought.
Her father stood up, clearing his throat. “Each men will get a chance to introduce themselves to our daughter. She will ask you three questions and you must answer it, truthfully.”
Tonto Ali moved away from the crowds and stood in the middle. This was a show. It was as if they had a rehearsal. Jeneba wanted to laugh because this felt like the Bachelorette, but the African version. However, the plot twist was that she knew who she was going to pick.
“I would like to introduce each suitor. Samba, Thierno, Hamza, Khalil, Mohammed, and Boubacar. The first to stand in the middle is Samba.”
Samba. The unaffectionate man.
Look out for Samba’s story in the next blog post! Who will Jeneba choose? Thank you for reading 🙂