Sisterhood of the traveling scarf

Ramadan may be a strong community experience, but waiting out the afternoons is tough. Tuesday in the ICS office, first grade assistant Hibo Hassan had had it.

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Ramadan may be a strong community experience, but waiting out the afternoons is tough. Tuesday in the ICS office, first grade assistant Hibo Hassan had had it. She plunked down in the chair by the front desk, a spot usually reserved for kids with stomach aches or scraped elbows, and closed her eyes. A teacher walked by rattling a cup of ice. Hibo, not allowed to drink or eat until after sunset, said, "Get that away from me."

Two fellow-fasters, Hodan Osman and Jennifer Greene, tried to distract her. Hodan, who mans the ICS desk after the school day ends at 3, started a comedy routine in Somali and English, bantering with folks walking in and out of the office, and making fun of her own phone-answering voice.

Jennifer, one of the school's two counselors, popped out of her office to offer her couch as a nap spot.

While Hibo contemplated the possibility, Jennifer and Hodan pointed out the lavender scarf she was wearing. It had originally belonged to Hodan, they said, but she had given it to Jennifer, to be her first headscarf. (Jennifer, a recent convert to Islam, is celebrating her first Ramadan this month.) Hodan had borrowed it back, then returned it. Then it had matched one of Hibo's famously colorful outfits, so it changed hands again.

"It's the Sisterhood of the Traveling Scarf," Hodan said. "They should make a movie."

I pulled out a camera, and the women posed like Charlie's Angels, shimmied, and batted their eyes. After a few shots, hunger forgotten for the moment, Hibo was belly-laughing.

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