blood and milk

I know this is a little late to be posting, but i'm posting it nonetheless.  During my time in Kenya I got to visit the village of Korr for a second time.  This trip was for a week instead of the weekend and it was a part of my internship.  I created an anthropological piece on the women of Rendille.  I learned so much about their culture when I was there a second time and build some beautiful friendships from women in the area.  

A few mornings I would wake up at 5:30 and visit the wells with my friend and translator Shammy.  By the time I got there the women drawing water from the wells were already heading out.  Many of them had to walk 6 km one way to fetch water.  

Our time of arrival came during the rainy season and everyone was happy living with the wealth they had. The camels were healed and waaq was happy.  I tried candied camel meat for the first time in my life and it was awesome.  When they candy the meat it preserves it and has no need to be refrigerated.  Convenient when you live in the desert.  Because we arrived a day after the rain, my Rendille name became Hiroya Galgidele of Matarbah.  My first name means very simply, rain.  My last name is that of my guide & friend who speaks 4 sentences of english, Blackie.  She decided that I could be a part of her clan.  The love the women I worked with shared with me was moving.  

My friend Maria, mother of 7, helped me with a photo shoot documenting collecting firewood (now-a-days you have to hike 25km to get enough for a few days so most buy it from a truck at a cost).  On the way back my professor took my camera from me and made me carry the wood.  Then Maria not only gave me the wood pile off her back, but also all of her beads (a symbol of beauty) and the equivalent of her wedding ring.  It is a simple beaded necklace with only red and white beads.  They symbolize the blood and milk they mix together at their wedding, because once they have been combined they can never be separated.  Another wedding tradition is clipping their toe nails and putting them in a pot that will be hung in the hut, you don't know whoes toe nail belongs to who so you become one.  

Our nights off, my fellow students, interns, and friends, Max and Tyler and I would hang out together under the Rendille stars.  One night we were all really tired and went to bed, I was supposed to get up early to go the the wells but when I got into bed my roommate for the week Shalom (a local & sister-in-law of my professor) came running into out hut shouting "He's here! He's here! The witch doctor is here!" And I hopped out of bed and came to see what the commotion was about.  We had heard about this witch doctor the whole week and were waiting for out chance 1. to meet him and 2. drive him out of town.  You see, he wasn't persay a witch doctor, but an anti-witch doctor.  He claimed that were evil objects in certain areas of the village and dig them up and make the village pay $100 for his service.  Another title for his job could be conman.  We went along with his bullshit for hours and Shalom and I could barely contain our laughter at how absurd all of his stories were.  We then convinced him that our friend Kora was the owner of the land we were on and took him around to show him all of the evil spirits on the property.  The last one they went to was obviously put there by the witch doctor himself.  All of the paths are lined with white painted rocks and one such rock was sitting in the middle of a path and the witch doctor found a claw under it and to destroy the evil spirit we burnt it on the spot.  As the night progressed he figured out we were catching onto his bullshit.  The next night at midnight we called a meeting with the elders of the village to have him arrested, but they could not because he was doing nothing illegal.  He was just taking advantage of the poor, uneducated population that truly believes in magic spirits. Fortunately, the day after we left he fled town out of fear (we have friends in government).  

Now here for some pictures: