Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Mauritanian Princess for a Day - thank you Fatma!

Today I was a princess for a day. Paul's friend, Fatma, invited me to have 'henna' drawn on my hands. Paul took me to her house where I was immediately given the royal treatment.

First I was given Mauritanian tea - three cups. Fatma and I had a delightful conversation. Paul and Fatma worked together in the 90's when Paul was the country director for World Vision. Fatma speaks very good English and we were able to communicate clearly. Fatma is an amazing person. Her story has really changed some of my thinking. After reading "A Deadly Misunderstanding" Fatma's story really needs to be told.

Then, when the henna artist arrived, I laid down with pillows under my feet and head. Fatma worked with the artist to create my design.

After I had one had completed and wrapped in paper and plastic, and the other hand was half way done, I was told it was snack time. Sure enough, Omar had brought in a tray of baguettes and roasted sheep. Since my hands were 'occupied' I was feed like a princess. You have not tasted lamb until you have tasted Mauritania roasted lamb. Fatma offered me a piece of the liver. Yum. It was perfectly cooked: not dry and a little underdone.

The best part was the roasted fat on the outside. Fatma prepared my bite and asked if I like fat: YES! The taste memories will last me a long time.

Once snack time was over I returned to my position and the henna artist completed her work.

About this time Ruth, Paul and Sonsoles arrived. Now it was lunch time. Omar brought in a tray of roasted lamb, vegetables in a red pepper peanut sauce over the best rice I have ever had. This meal was eaten with hands! But not for me!

My henna was not to be washed off for 24 hours so I was given a spoon! :)

A lovely meal, more tea - three cups - and we finished with wonderful stories and coke.

So I have met our brother's Mauritanian sister - Fatma. And she gave me an experience that will linger for a very long time.

No comments: