It is day four of Ramadan, so Ramadan Mubarek to you all! Thus far the experience of participating is rather different than I had expected, in large part because my energy level is at times way lower than I anticipated it would be. The process of fasting from 3:30 AM until 7:30 PM means my sleeping schedule has shifted from getting a solid seven or eight hours of sleep during the night to taking a mid-day nap when the heat is most intense. Thomas and I get up at around 2:45 AM to have our pre-dawn ‘suhoor‘ meal, and waking up to eat at this hour is a very strange experience! But as I eat I know that most everyone in town is also eating, so it seems rather communal in that regard. And then I return to bed and try to sleep until it is actually light outside.
On the first day of Ramadan, perhaps because it felt new and exciting, my energy was quite good overall. Plus, we were invited to break the fast with a woman I know in town who is the director of a women’s date cooperative. We had a wonderful time being with her and other guests, and enjoyed many traditional iftar (break-fast meal) foods: onion and pepper stuffed bread, hard boiled eggs, kefir, chebakia, zmita, and harira soup. After the meal we made our way home feeling quite rejuvenated and happy, and I was eager for the fast to continue.
Can I admit that days two and three of Ramadan were more challenging? I was so tired both days that I had a hard time moving much at all. Thankfully, as of today my body has started to adapt to the Ramadan schedule, and I feel more awake and energetic than I did the last two days. While fasting from food is likely the primary reason for my lower energy, the high temperatures here in town also play a significant part in my inability to move much. It is hovering around 100 degrees each day, and the weather forecast shows these temps will continue through next week. But, as I am learning from local friends, it really is OK to rest much of the day during Ramadan. So I shall allow myself grace with how I experience being ‘active’ or ‘productive’ or ‘accomplished’ over the coming weeks.
Evidence that the pace of life changes during Ramadan can be seen throughout our town: today’s souq was much smaller and less busy than in past weeks, and most shops and cafes are closed much of the day. As well, my weekly women’s English class on Thursday had only 2 attendees! But things liven up in town after iftar, and Thomas and I are hoping to share break fast meals with various friends in town over the course of Ramadan.
I think that is all I have to say for the moment. Thanks for taking time to read these thoughts, and I will post again soon, in’shallah.