Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Today I visited Roda, one of my young girl friends at her "marriage house". She ran away with a young man about a month ago--that is the traditional way to begin "marriage" here in Mabaan . Now they share a tukul on the property of her family and for about two months the young woman is forced to stay within the house and a small grass enclosure that provides enough space for cooking on the gound, storing some watch containers, a bed and firewood. She isn't permitted to be seen outside that enclosure. She was cooking kisera when we arrived. It is a thin bread cooked over a very hot fire with fermented sorghum flour mixed with water. She allowed me to try my hand at it and we all had a good laugh at the comedy of errors.

Her hands, forearms, feet and ankles were covered with henna.  Her head was uncovered.  Her tukul scented with insense they use when entertaining as newlyweds.  Two days ago they held the "Badida"--one of the many events involved in the months of "marriage" traditions.  She had her hair newly woven and the henna done for that party. She also had bleached the skin of her face and I missed the warmth of her usual dark, dark skin. Many of them believe beauty is to be found in lighter skin. She invited us to eat when we told her it was our curfew and we had to get home. Well, you have to be careful not to offend when offered food so Karissa said we could eat a little bit quickly. Well, a lot of food later we hurried home--after curfew again.  Oops.

I'm warmed by our visit with this beautiful young girl, learning to live as a married woman in this interesting culture that holds her captive for two to three months while her husband comes and goes as he pleases. Her oldest maternal auntie is responsible for training her in cooking, cleaning, mudding, etc and will decide when she can leave the forced secluded life and return to normal village life where she can come and go as she pleases.  (Seclusion isn't the right word--she can recieve female guests.) 

She is in the process of marrying David, a young man who is the son of Tabitha who cooks for some of our missionaries. David is currently working for us by helping build a brick kitchen at the Nutrition Program. Usually buildings of grasses and mud are used for "kitchens" but we decided to make a more permanent building.  He is a hard worker and a blessing to me.  He speaks some English and I've been able to use him to translate a bit with the mothers when my other English speaking staff members were not present. Roda was one of the first people to invite me into her home when I arrived in Doro two years ago. Friendships like ours--though limited in some ways by the barriers of culture, language, age and circumstance--are precious to me.  Hospitality, generosity and acceptance in this culture humble, bless and challenge me.  May I be more open and generous to those in my life...

Roda confidently makes kisera on a giddle over a stick fire just a few inches off the ground. It is so much harder than it looks!


At 11:43 PM , Blogger righthere.rightnow. said...

Loving reading through your blog today friend... Warms my heart as it reminds me of the beautiful people we were blessed to share life with for a while.


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