Today is Sunday, and as Lamin Samura is going to one of the Islamic schools, that means he had to go to school this morning. Fiqh and Hadith were some of the subjects today. No English cause the English teacher doesn’t attend school on Sundays.
The Islamic schools, Madrassa schools, are seen as religious schools. Getting to know the religion and practicing it is one of the main aims of education at these schools. By this the schools contributes to the development of good young citizens. Citizens with a good moral sense, who know their responsibility towards their country and have skills for the national development of the Gambia.
But for now, on this Sunday afternoon after school, this young citizen enjoys playing football with the other kids on the block, a good chicken domoda (most delicious meal with peanut sauce) and some green tea.
This green tea is not just boiled water with a tea bag or some leaves in it. No it’s Ataja. More like a ritual. It takes time to prepare the perfect Ataja. And some specific steps. Buying the right green tea leaves at the shop and a bag of sugar. Heating the chalk coal. Boiling the water with the tea leaves in a small kettle. Maybe with some fresh mint. Poring the boiled tea from one cup to another. Adding a cup of sugar. Boiling it some more. Poring the liquid from cup to cup, creating a light brown foam and getting the right temperature. Tasting. Maybe adding some more sugar or water. And then it’s ready. Lamin offers me the first cup. The second cup he passes to one of the other woman. ‘It’s good, hé?! Sugar good?’ I hand the empty cup back to Lamin. ‘Yeah, it’s good! Abaraka, thanks man.’ The third and fourth cup go to the other women. Maybe there is a fifth. That one goes to the landlord. And then part of the ritual starts over again so the others and Lamin himself can also have a taste of Ataja.
Well maybe not one of the skills to contribute to the national development of the Gambia, but I think Ataja certainly is part of society and being a Gambian citizen!