A few nights ago, I attended a Pular wedding. My host mother was late to come home due to attending what turned out to be the first part of the wedding, and–as I was helping with dinner–we had a conversation that went, in full:
HM: You’re going to help at a Pular wedding.
Because I am dumb, I assumed she meant sometime in the future. She did not, as evidenced by her watching me eat melon after diner and looking impatient. Finally, I got:
HM: I’m waiting for you!
HM: *sigh* We’re leaving now.
And so we did. I put on a jacket and she shoved me into a taxi. As we arrived in the neighborhood where the wedding was happening, she cheerily pointed out the women’s prison. So that was fun.
When we got in, she said hello to everyone and left me in a room full of her distant relatives without much in the way of an introduction. As in, I don’t think people knew why I was there or what my connection to my host mother was. They thought I was a French woman there on vacation.* Nonetheless, they were very accomodating, and a younger relative turned herself into my translator for the evening. Let it never be said that Senegalese folks will not roll with the punches when a stranger shows up to a family gathering.