I have a namesake.
Little Ryann Sesay was born just 6 days ago, to my cleaner, Susan.
It's less of an honor than you might imagine to have a baby named after you. It certainly doesn't mean I'm beloved or revered. In fact, Susan was quite clear that the motivations were partly financial. "If it's a girl, I'm going to name her Ryann," she told me when I learned she was pregnant. "Then you have to throw the party."
The party is for a naming ceremony, usually held about a week after birth. (Ryann's isn't yet planned, in part because I didn't realize I'm supposed to choose the date. Oops.) Other obligations for supporting one's namesake can range from occasional birthday gifts to the payment of school fees. One Lebanese businessman I know is now paying tuition at the University of Sierra Leone for his namesake, Mohamed -- not a blood relation.
I am happy to play this role. (Well, maybe not the college tuition...) I like Susan, and have known her for 2 years now. And it's nice to feel part of a Salone family, even if only tangentially.
The weird thing for me is to call another person "Ryann". I'm the only Ryann I've ever known!
But deep down I'm pretty chuffed about the whole thing. I mean, isn't she beautiful? As you can see, my housemate Tom was smitten. And maybe jealous -- the baby would have been Tom if she'd been a he.
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