Baby preparations

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThree students here on campus (and friends) announced since our arrival they were expecting, and have had, or are going to have a baby in the coming month. They have so graciously enveloped us into their baby preparation and I have loved being a part (especially since my sister is due in just a few weeks and I feel closer to her being a part of baby preparations here). I love learning about the process of welcoming new life and feel much closer to these women learning how they go about preparing for an expanding family.

Each woman announced her pregnancy during a morning or afternoon coffee by declining their usual coffee (they drink smaller amounts when pregnant). When these women declined all the other women started “guessing” why and the moms excited face became the announcement. Their announcement to their husbands was to decline lying with them as they believe this can poison the baby.

During the first trimester they try and not go outside the house as jealousy (or the evil eye) may harm the baby. After they begin showing they are much more free in their excursions.

They believe if you have strong feelings or desires for a certain sex (for example you really want a girl) that you will have a boy (and vise versa). There are no “craving” indicators for sex of the baby.

It is not customary to touch a woman’s belly here or ask to feel the baby move…it has been hard for me to not ask all the time as I am so excited for these mommies!

Before delivery two of the mommies threw a bakhoor (incense and perfume) making party. It was quite the experience (and oh so much fun!) I thought I would walk you through pieces of it in pictures (there were two different days one R. and one for A. It was such fun to “prep” for baby with the women. They use the Bakhoor to smell good on charcoal when people visit after the baby and the perfume to make sure mom smells nice after baby. Each guest that visits can also bee given some Bakhoor to be taken home with them.

You first wash the cut sandlewood and lay it out to dry
After cleaning you sort the wood to prepare the bigger pieces for cooking and putting the “splinters” to the side.
You heat sugar to boiling until it “carmelizes


While this is occurring you get juice prepared from limes
Then add the wood and continue cooking and coating it in the caramelized sugar
Making sure the wood is good and sugar coated before adding lime juice
Adding a ground sugar crystal type looking smell to the cooking wood and sugar
Then add lots of perfume when putting it in your storage container

I think I will let the pictures do the talking for some of the other perfumes that we made (I use “we” REALLY loosely as I think I mostly got in the way and provided comic relief).

Perfume Making
There was food…


…baby holding
Coffee of course…
Claire coffee grinder extraordinaire
…lots of laughter


…and dancing. Trust me I looked worse in person then in this still shot…
Abook started the dancing off…


William even danced some


While the younger people danced the “real women” continued to create things
The perfume from one of days

The Kuwaijah (non-sudanese) ladies threw a baby celebration on my back porch a few days later (my hostess heart was so happy!). It wasn’t nearly as exciting as the previous weekends but it was special none the less. My amazing friend A. went above and beyond to help me host “Sudanese style” even sharing some of her Bakhoor for the celebration and walking me step by step through the process…it was such fun!

Preparing “boon” or coffee
Visiting and enjoying refreshments. We served, water, juice, tea then coffee with popcorn and Indian treats.


Claire serving…
Claire giving a lovely devotion
Handing of the gifts. Nyadeng brought them from Malakal


Remember the Bakhoor we made the previous weekends. I took some coals with Bakhoor around and the woman chanted blessings and pulled the sweet smelling smoke into themselves.

The highlight of the shower for me was being able to pray in Arabic. It was not a spontaneous prayer, but working as a language learner one of my goals was to pray and to pray for each of these dear mothers in a language they understood was a huge blessing to me.


The very next day one of the moms went into labor. But that is another story…


*****Most pictures were taken by my teammates Claudia or Bethany (if they have me in them!) Thanks ladies!


3 thoughts on “Baby preparations

  • 6 September, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    bEAUTIFUL! Women everywhere are awesome!

  • 9 September, 2013 at 12:24 am

    Hi from Alderwood! I appreciate you..and pics of course, taking in as much as i can: Your dress…almost a sari: the stove….gas? Someone in a sweater? Sandalwood must grow there. I’m in awe at God’s preparation for you to be in that place at that time!

  • 9 September, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Such wonderful pictures and insight into your life and theirs. Please greet these beautiful women from another woman in Maple Valley, WA! May they continue to be blessed and be a blessing. The perfume making is amazing!!


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