MY CULTURE
BY: ROKIA TOURAY
RELIGION, CLOTHING, AND FOOD

I'M MUSLIM AND AFRICAN AMERICAN. I COME FROM THE GAMBIA IN WEST AFRICA.
THE BIGGEST HOLIDAY OF THE YEAR TO MY FAMILY IS RAMADAN. ON RAMADAN WE PRAY AND FAST. A FAST IS WHEN YOU DON'T EAT FOR A SPECIFIC AMOUNT OF TIME. RAMADAN IS MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY BECAUSE WHEN IT'S OVER, I GET MONEY. MY COUSINS AND I GO TO RESTAURANTS AND WE HAVE OUR OWN LITTLE PARTIES. SOMETIMES ON RAMADAN WE DON'T DRESS IN JEANS AND T-SHIRTS. WE DRESS IN AFRICAN CLOTHES OR MUSLIM CLOTHES.

OUR AFRICAN CLOTHES ARE FANCY. THE CLOTHES HAVE JEWELRY ON THEM. THE CLOTHES ARE ALSO VERY COLORFUL AND HAVE A LOT OF DIFFERENT DESIGNS. WE DRESS UP FOR WEDDINGS, BABY SHOWERS, AND OTHER SPECIAL OCCASIONS. MY MOTHER AND AUNTS ALWAYS DRESS IN AFRICAN CLOTHES UNLESS IT'S COLD OUTSIDE OR RAINING. I WEAR AFRICAN CLOTHES TO FAMILY EVENTS SO I WON'T FEEL OUT OF PLACE.
ANOTHER TRADITION IS OUR FOOD. THE FOOD THAT WE EAT IS VERY DELICIOUS. PEOPLE THINK WE EAT RATS AND OTHER DISGUSTING STUFF. WE EAT CHEBU WHICH IS RED RICE MADE WITH MEAT, CARROTS, CABBAGE, AND GREEN PEPPERS. WE ALSO EAT YASA WHICH IS WHITE RICE WITH CHICKEN, ONIONS, AND GREEN PEPPERS. DERE MALACHE (DE-REY MA-LA-CHEY) IS RICE WITH SPINACH COOKED IN TENTULU. TENTULU IS A REDDISH-ORANGE PALM OIL, BUT THICKER. SOUPU IS RICE COVERED WITH SOUP THAT HAS MEAT, PEAS, AND CARROTS IN IT. I DON'T EAT THESE DISHES EVERY DAY. IT'S UP TO MY MOTHER TO DECIDE WHAT SHE WANTS TO COOK.
I FEEL THAT KIDS CAN LEARN ABOUT THEIR CULTURES FROM BOOKS, COMPUTERS, AND THEIR TEACHERS OR PARENTS. ONE POSSIBLE PROBLEM ABOUT LEARNING FROM YOUR TEACHER IS THAT HE OR SHE MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT YOUR CULTURE. IF THE TEACHER DOES NOT KNOW ABOUT YOUR CULTURE THEY SHOULD LEARN MORE ABOUT IT, SO THEY CAN TEACH IT TO OTHERS.