We Were In The Boma Like It Was My Living Room In Key West…

Posted on: May 9th, 2011 by Amy 1 Comment

We spent a few hours with the women of Datoga, just talking while they were preparing maize. We were in the boma like it was my living room in Key West — except it was a cow dung structure with dirt floors and low ceilings. The women are now more comfortable with us, especially after having done some chores with them. As the younger girls come in and out of the boma, the older women keep up the conversation with me. Then they discuss what we talked about amongst themselves, and then the questions come: “How many children do you have?” Now, this question is asked at least 25 times a day. Then, “Are you Christian or Muslim?” Then, as the conversation is now moving beautifully, they start to tell me about their religion. The Datoga only believe in the Sun, and that the moon is a baby of the Sun. Everything revolves around the Sun. They can’t understand why we would follow a religion that is a “Man with a Beard.” I didn’t dare tell them I am agnostic. That would take a month to explain. Then they wanted to know how you tell a man from a woman in the USA, because the women wear pants — so why would you confuse the issue of gender! And finally, my favorite question, “How many shoes do you own?” I started laughing because inevitably it all comes down to women and their shoes!

We were talking about births and the naming of babies. The women explained that when a baby is born, relatives and clan come to meet the baby and then they all name the baby. After the naming, the women make a song that is only for that baby. As they told us about this practice the women began to sing and encouraged us to clap along. Our friend Tonto, who is Datogan but lives in the city, almost started crying because it reminded him of his mother.

After the song was done a man came in and we immediately asked what happened to the boy at Clan Court. He explained to us that it had gone on until the next morning and that many of the men were not happy. If you remember, it was up to 5-7 cows that were to be split between the Clan and the father, along with the bucket of honey. The final ruling was that two cows and the bucket of honey would go to the Clan, and nothing to the father! The Clan told the father, “He is your son. You should have been able to control him, so you will get nothing of the fine.”

We are off to meet the blacksmiths! Stay African!

One Response

  1. Keith says:

    Women and shoes! Goes to show women are the same all over the world! LOL!

    One question I have! Are women judged their by how many children they have?

    In regards to the clan court ruling, how surprised I was for that decision. Was the father pissed? I would’ve been. But once I thought about it I can see the clan’s point. The father should’ve dealt with it and not wasted the clan’s time. Now he gets nothing and the clan gets court cost! Pricelss!

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