Now, Doudou has known for a while that I will never be a Senegalese wife, however since returning to Senegal I am becoming more aware of the expectations of wives in Senegal, some of which I quite enjoy and some that I can do without. Of course these are generalizations, but from my experience these are the main points:
- Cooking a good Tiebu Jen (the national plate of rice and fish). This staple dish is what your family will be eating 4 out of 7 days a week so it better be good!
- Keeping the house in order; as you may have guessed, this is my weakest point by far.
- "Topotoe" This is a Wolof word which means 'to take care of someone' specifically a wife 'taking care' of her husband. Though I've never really understood exactly what this refers to, it's always said with a wink and a nod and occasionally followed by questions about certain under-garments I may or may not own (ok that was only one time)...
- Bareing strong sons; though now a days the thinking on this is becoming more pragmatic given the higher costs of living and introduction of family planning techniques.
While expectations on Senegalese wives can be high, there is one main asset of which I am a BIG fan: Sister support! Senegalese women work together and are constantly lending a hand especially within families. I was very grateful to experience this myself when Doudou's sister, Astu Gueye, agreed to spend her afternoon teaching me how to prepare a perfect Chicken Dinner! Thank God for sisters.
With Astu's help the Anniversary Dinner was a great success and I think all of Doudou's friends are now convinced without a doubt that I am a good Senegalese wife. Though it was not the most romantic anniversary we will ever have, it was a wonderful evening and great to become closer to Doudou's friends and family.
See attached the recipe for Senegalese style chicken with pictures (sorry some of the measurements are strange- I did my best to approximate but in reality no measuring instruments were used in the process).