When we lived in the village (more of a large town) we went to naming ceremonies all the time. We lived right in the neighborhood and were included in all the big life events that went on around us. Here in the big city we live in a neighborhood where the neighbors don't really even know each other, which means we don't get to things like this as often.
So here in the city we only occasionally go to naming ceremonies and those are generally for people we know really well. Such was the case for the naming ceremony of K__'s baby. K__ has worked for several missionaries, including myself, though she isn't currently working for me. I don't know why she never married, but she didn't. Then a little over a year ago she did get married and was happy to soon after find herself pregnant. She is nearly 40, and since this was a first pregnancy, it was considered high risk. She did really well during the pregnancy. Normally here they only do a C-section if the life of the mother or child is at risk, but after she labored for several hours (but not that long compared to what many moms do) they did a C-section. I think because of her age they didn't want to take chances. She has recovered really well from the C-section, though.
The baby's naming ceremony was on a Sunday. We got up early and went over, finding ourselves among the first to arrive. Here you see the chairs set up for the men outside. The women go in the house where the mom is sequestered in the back room. She wears her finest outfit. Her room is decorated with curtains called "cache muir", which means "hide the wall". New bed coverings are bought and in K__'s case she even had brand new bedroom furniture. The back room often doesn't have a window so it can be pretty dark, especially in homes where they don't have electricity. She did have a light, but you can see in this picture taken without a flash how dark it is.
The mom sits on the bed with her family and friends surrounding her, but she commands the household from there. She makes sure the kola nut and dates are put out on a tray and that somebody distributes them. She makes sure other treats are handed out, such as popcorn and some sort of fried honey cake (very delicious!) that we got. On this day, K__ kept having phone conversations with her nephew who was supposed to be bringing the bread, but still hadn't showed up and was preventing the party from proceeding.
Meanwhile outside the men say the prayers, slit the throat of the goat or sheep that will become part of the sauce, and give the name to the baby. This little girl's name is "Leila". Isn't that a pretty name? Sometimes the women don't hear the name and it takes a bit of asking around before we know what it is! Here's one of the Grandma's holding the new baby.
Please pray for this family. The Gospel has been shared but not yet received.