Camels in a row, as the sun sets

“Do you want one of your Christmas presents now?” Hmm… letmethinkyes.

Cheikh carried in a large cardboard box with a label from Bamako, Mali, on it. He reached in and pulled out… a wooden camel, carved with beautiful details, and set it in front of me.

My thought process: Do I thank him for this very cool camel? Or do I ask if this gift is what I think it is? Is this really…

He pulled out a second camel.

Oh, I think it is…

A third camel.


A Fulani-style shepherd, like we see here in West Africa

The whole wooden nativity story goes back a long way in Khady history. My parents had one when we were kids (I think my grandmother gave it to them for that purpose.) and we were allowed to play with it, which was awesome.

Anyway – my brother and I have always ‘fought’ over who would get it. Would it be the first one to get married? (I won!) Or would it be the first to have a baby? (Boo… he won. But I love you, Jazmine!) And so went the sibling competition for a nativity scene.

Three Wise Men

So this wooden nativity scene is ‘extra’ special to me because, not only is it a gift from Cheikh and a souvenir from his trip to Mali, but now I have my very own Pape can grow up playing with a nativity set too.

(I have to admit though, one of my first thoughts setting up was, “YES! I finally get to choose where each piece goes all by myself!” Sigh. My poor mom.)

Camel leading the way

This afternoon when Pape was playing with the nativity scene, it looked like he lifted baby Jesus up to his shoulder to pat his back. (How sweet!) Nope. He was just talking on his baby Jesus phone.

Baby Jesus.
Gold, frankincense and myrrh
Mary kneeling
A shepherd keeping watch over his flock
A Wise Man (You can tell by the beard, right, Dad?)
Sheep from the flock
Joseph with Mary
The shepherd’s hat and staff. (Love this!)
Shepherd holding one of his sheep
Camel Dos
The whole crew.

So… who wants to come to play?