This week I saw a completely different side of Sfax. Friday I went to a dance performance showcasing the African-Islamic tradition of Istambeli. The show started outside the theater with a visit from Busadia. After some drumming and dancing we went into the theater and learned about the folklore and traditions of Istambeli. From what I gathered, it originated in different parts of Africa (such as Chad and Mali) and is still practiced in Sfax and other regions of Tunisia. When people get together they play music and dance until they collapse from pleasure.
The next day I went with a group of friends to another event, part of the same festival, which showcased the different African cultures living in Sfax. Sfax has many Universities and therefore many International students. It was held in the medina with tents representing different regions of Africa and beautiful handicrafts and clothes hidden inside. I enjoyed talking to people from different parts of the world.
And Sunday, rounding out a multi-cultural weekend, we had our Access Program Thanksgiving Dinner. I have started a blog for the program if you’re interested to follow what we’re doing. I cooked a Turkey Chili and Sarah made an Apple Crumble, while our students brought in Tunisian dishes and we shared a big meal together in the spirit of Thanksgiving.