A few weeks ago, Babacar’s vacation ended and our instructor Samba Sow left the group to return to his family in Thiès. We threw a small party at Babacar’s house to mark the occasion; since it was a party, we obviously needed a cake.
After a delicious meal of Kine’s cheret, Paige, Emmanuelle, and I went to go frost the cake and bring it out. Babacar’s youngest daughter Safietou accompanied us to the kitchen, making faces at me as I held her and she squirmed to see the frosting process. The cake was carefully covered in a thick layer of vanilla frosting, and at the end there was still a significant amount left in the plastic bowl — certainly enough for us to have a mini feast before the official dessert. We eagerly dipped fingers in, licking up delicious globs of frosting. Safietou wriggled out of my arms to better reach the bowl; while her back was turned, Emmanuelle snuck a dollop of frosting onto her little nose.
Safietou shrieked, and everything devolved immediately into mayhem. Retaliation was obviously necessary, and Paige and I lost no time in joining the battle. Astou, Babacar’s oldest daughter, stuck her head into the kitchen to investigate the delay; she was greeted with a shmear of frosting on her cheek when she tried to taste-test. It was every girl for herself, constantly shifting alliances and random shrieks and giggles adding to the chaos.
The next few minutes found all of us gasping for breath between laughs and frosting attacks. The dwindling frosting bowl passed from hand to hand as we darted around the kitchen, feigning surprise whenever more sugary frosting appeared on our cheeks and foreheads (and in our hair — thanks Astou). Our faces were thoroughly coated when Paige stopped laughing and stood still. “Guys. There’s no water.” We all paused, and then broke into even broader smiles and sillier laughter as we remembered that there was a water outage in the entire city of Dakar. We were covered in sticky vanilla icing, with no way to wash our hands or faces. At this point, there was nothing to lose. The fight continued with even more fervor: Safietou scurried between our legs, avoiding letting anyone’s frosting-covered fingers anywhere near her; I obviously needed revenge on Astou for the frosting in my hair; Babacar’s son Mansour got a big smear across the side of his face when he came to check out the commotion and immediately told us we were all “crazy.” Still he stayed, dodging blows and pretending he wasn’t enjoying the fun as much as we were.
Finally, we exhausted our frosting supply. We all looked around at each other’s sugar-coated faces, breathing heavily and still giggling. Emerging from the kitchen, we were greeted by a range of bemused and disapproving expressions (sorry Kine!) as we paper-toweled off the frosting as best we could. We assured everyone the cake would still have plenty of frosting, and the party preceded as planned.