21 October 2011

D-6 The engagement party !

This late afternoon, the whole family was invited to an engagement party.
I was walking by Hussein when we arrived in front of the house and he told me "Ok, see you later, I am going with the men now". I was shocked and asked "Do you mean that men and women are having a separate celebration even for an engagement party?". He replied "Of course, this is our habit" as he likes to say :)
It was very difficult for me to understand: even if I knew they were often divided, I assumed they would share this moment all together, as a symbol of the union of a man with a woman.
I was thinking that maybe they prefer to wait to be married for the mixed party, but Hussein told me that it depends on the family: they could actually also be divided for the wedding.
So I went to the women's party... It was really nice, the bride-to-be was wearing a long black dress with many sparkling buttons, and everyone was all dressed up. I was surprised by the big amount of make-up used, even on the little girls, as well as the fancy dresses and hair cuts that we would define as "very kitsch" ;)
The bride-to-be was sitting on some kind of "throne" and all the women were dancing for her ! This time, there was some music on ... :)

I was glad to see the groom arriving at some point, for some dancing, but also for a little ceremony where he offered a necklace to his fiance.
They both looked really happy !

I met 2 of my little students there, with their very cute brother, as you can on the picture.

After the party, I asked Hussein how was the men's party like, and he told me they were just chatting and having coffee... So I was happy I was with the girls :) I noticed the future bride was not around for a moment, and thought maybe she also met her fiance at the other party, but Hussein explained me that only the man can go party with the women... ;)

D-6 Last day in Shiraa

Today was the last day at the Shiraa Association... Times flies !

As usual the children were happy to be here and participated actively in all the activities and exercises.

Once again, the boys beat the girls in the team match.

We then paired them by level for some real games, except 6 of them that I thought had still not assimilated every figure's movement. I don't want to make them play without knowing this absolutely perfectly, because then, the games would not make any sense.

Ahmed was here today again, so we were co-animating the class, which is much better when you have level differences. He will be the one keeping on with the class when I am gone, 4 hours per week. The idea is to create a chess club and a team which will then compete in tournaments.

Ahmed was explaining me he learnt how to play chess by himself when he was a teenager. He once saw two people playing and he caught the chess virus.There was not any centre like Shiraa in the past, and no tournament either to develop his skills. It was also (and still is) very difficult to get out of the country and compete with the rest of the world. Competition is important for the improvement though.
It reminded me how lucky I was to be travelling France and Europe for chess competitions at a very young age.
At the end of the class, I thanked all the children for their great participation and positive attitude.

I gave one chess medal to the best two boys and one for the best girl, they were really proud !

All the children gave me a kiss and told me I will be missed, that was soooo cute !