by Rachel Davis, Deb Baesemen, Tim Burroughs, Kendra Cornwell, The Gambia
In The Gambia, when a child is born, the villagers wait seven days before choosing a name. They do this so that the name will be carefully chosen and reflective of the child.
Seven days after we arrived in Nema, the villagers threw a big party called a "naming ceremony" for us. The whole village gathered for the event. Our host families dressed us in their best Gambian outfits and our host parents led us to the village square.
The event started with prayer. Then, each of us was brought forward and an elder pretended to shave our heads. (An infant would actually have his head shaved during this ceremony.) Our host fathers then announced our new Gambian names. After the formal ceremony, there was much dancing, singing, and eating. Below you will find our Gambian names.
Kendra Cornwell = Fatou Korta
Rachel Davis = Umi Korta
Deb Baesemen = Musaba Fedra
Tim Burroughs = Nuha Fedra
We all felt special and welcomed in our new home in The Gambia.