‘Winter’ Banquets in the Desert

I was noticing on Facebook quite a few comments regarding winter banquets of various types at various schools.  One might think that since we live in Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, that banquets of any type may not be an option.  Oh contraire my friend.  Sahel Academy, the international mission’s school that my kids attend, put on quite a shindig for their students and staff this past February.  What was glaringly absent was cold and snow, high priced hairdo’s and expensive banquet gowns.  What wasn’t missing was the lovely hair.

See?  The beautiful model is my daughter, Tanika, and the hair-stylist is, well, yours truly.  Yep.  I did this.  And I’m so not good with hair.  Ask Tanika.  If it was more than a headband she wanted, she always had to find someone else to do her hair.But this time, I was inspired.  Not sure why.  Maybe because I realized that as a senior, (her, not me!)  the hair do opportunities are winding down.  Or maybe it was because there were no other options….

At any rate, I was happy with how it turned out, and I think she was too.

Total cost?  Stress, hoping it was going to be what she wanted.

And high priced banquet dresses?  Check this one out.

How much?  Tanika bought the cloth, designed the dress and we took it to a tailor for sewing.  Total cost: $15.  No kidding.  (Mom and brother not included).

Then there was the brother.  The banquet wasn’t exclusive to high school – elementary students were also invited.  When it comes to banquets, boys, hands down, are  easier.  Tobi took a shower about 20 minutes before it was time to go.  This is a kid who really does like clothes and is happy to receive them as gifts.  This is also a kid who thinks he has loads and loads of clothes.  And to the majority of the people here, he has an over-abundance.  He is certainly not in want, but his closet – where dressy clothes would normally be hung – is very,very sparse.  He has maybe 2 pairs of jeans that fit.  This isn’t a problem, as he rarely  wears jeans.  Too hot.  The pants he wore are the only dressy pants that fit.  Fortunately, when his grandparents brought them for him, they got them big.  He wore them at last year’s banquet too – faux paux, I know.  But as I said, boys are easier.  I was ok with what was on his limbs, it was the footwear I was concerned about.  He has 1 pair of dress shoes, and given that last year they were too big (he had to wear 2 pair of sports socks), I assumed they’d still work.  The pants did.  Ten minutes before departure time, I told him to get his shoes on.  He tried.  He really did.  They didn’t fit.  I asked if he could wear them anyway – after all  what are a few hours with feet crammed into uncomfortable shoes when considering fashion? I’ve done it.   But this suggestion on a kid whose preferred footwear is none wasn’t going to fly.  His suggestion was flip flops.  “They’re blue.  They match my shirt”, he said.  I told him that his sneakers were his best option, and to put them on.  He only wears those 2 x/week, on P.E. days because he has to.  So I guess they could be considered dress shoes.  I was just hoping that with all the pretty girls around that no one would really notice.

Not to worry.  We arrived right on time for pictures, with me feeling seriously under-dressed and out of place.   Tobi quickly found his friends.  I immediately looked at their feet and here’s what I found.

Here’s the top half of the boys.

I’m sure Tobi was quite relieved to NOT be wearing dress shoes.

After much debating…

The men finally decided where to sit.  They were probably trying to figure out which table was going to get food first.

The banquet theme was ‘The Far East’ so there was an incredible spread of Asian food all prepared by Student Council and their recruits.  It smelled delectable, but I wasn’t invited.

It was a lovely evening from what I could tell.   Here is Tanika with her friend and their escorts.

The night was complete with ballroom dancing, which I didn’t get any pictures of, because again, I wasn’t invited.  Tanika thoroughly enjoyed the dancing and Tobi chose the alternative entertainment…a movie.

So back to the comments and complaints I’ve recently heard about school banquets in the US.  Simply put, they make me thankful to be living in Niger!

4 thoughts on “‘Winter’ Banquets in the Desert

  1. Connie Weis

    Loved the hairdo and the dress. Beautiful material. Tobi is getting so tall. Look out Mom, he will be passing you soon. Those guys are so cute. Looks like they had a ball too. Miss you all.

  2. Kim Goodmanson

    Love your hair, Tanika! You look beautiful! If your mom ever wants to put highlights in your hair….politely say no! Trust me……:)

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