1 MOMENT - The Story Behind the Photo

A version of this photo and description appeared in the Colby Magazine, Spring Issue 2015. It also appears in Everything Is Insha’Allah, a book of short stories based in West Africa, written by Bradford Philen.

It was early morning on the Tabaski holiday in Dakar, Senegal. Tabaski, or Eid al-Adha, honors the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac to God. In Senegal, the meat from the ram (or rams) is divided into three parts: one third for the family, one third for friends and neighbors, and one third to be given to the poor and hungry.

At the home of my friend Almamy Badiane, his sisters and sisters-in-law made preparations for a feast that would last all day and into the night. Hours would pass between courses, making me envy the ease with which my host and his local guests were able to pass time in comfortable silence. I was antsy. And also ashamed of being antsy.

Venturing into the outdoor kitchen with a dusty Holga camera, I was not unwelcome, but I knew my place as a guest was beside the host. My own plastic chair was waiting for me, and there were several courses still to come.