Gambian kids in the U.S. experience Eid differently

Muhammed Darboe wears his favorite blue kaftan, well designed and specially embroidered for him. His colorful wear, complimented by a fresh haircut and a pair of locally made slip-on, marakiss makes him standout.

In the afternoon, shortly after 4 p.m., Muhammed will stroll the streets with his friends, Musa, Modou and Sulayman, mostly to their favorite uncles, aunties, and family friends.

It is “salibo” – a tradition that will see them get some money from them. Well, whoever gives them the most money becomes their all-time favorite.

That was in Gambia. Muhammed moved to America about a year ago. He loves that he has a PlayStation and can play Fifa without fighting over the controllers but Koriteh and Tobaski bring him memories he cherishes dearly.

“I miss Gambia. The Eid here is not fun. It is not like Gambia with my friends,” he told me during a chat at a park where he and other young Gambian kids were having a barbecue for the Koriteh.

But for the Bojang girls: Fatou, Fama, and Matida nothing was more exciting than celebrating the Eid. They got to hang out with their friends at the park, run around and not go to bed at 10 p.m.

Matida was overly excited. She got to spend the whole day with her best friend Sophie Touray. None of the girls went to sleep the night before. The excitement kept them awake.

They never experienced the fanfare of Eid in The Gambia and would not understand Muhammed’s dilemma. They are shocked that Muhammed does not think the Eid was so much fun.

“Yes, we are having fun. We are so happy. This is nice,” the girls said. “It is so much fun we should have it all the time.”

They wanted to take pictures and all the kids gathered for that photo moment. We could take multiple at once and pictures could get deleted if one those not like them.

But back in the Gambia, when their parents were growing up, there was no taking of pictures multiple times. The camera had Kodak films and you only have one shot to give your best pose and say cheese.

With time, Muhammed will feel like Fatou, Fama, Matida and Sophie. The excitement will not be the same as Gambia, but he would be over joyed that Eid has come around.

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