Friday, July 10, 2009

The last farewell

About 5 months before we arrived in the Sos Kundi area, two women from Mangijangut village died. They mourn and bury them at the time, but then for the next several months they follow some practices, for example the relatives of the ladies didn't cut their grass, the men didn't cut their beards and the relatives wore black woven bands around their wrists.

The finishing of this mourning period happened when we were in the area. We were staying at Chikinumbu village at the time, so we packed our bags to stay overnight at Mangijangut village. The night before we went there, they had a night of crying, but we missed out on that.

The night we went there, there was some men from another nearby language group who they had hired to sing their songs about how everything came to be.

Here are the men singing the traditional story about how things came to be. They sat up all night doing that. We stayed there till midnight and then went to bed. The super strong, super sweet coffee that we were served at 10pm helped us to last to midnight. There must have been about a 1/4 cup of coffee and a 1/4 cup of sugar per drink!

It was all happening in one house, and in the house, there were grass images of the two women who had died.

Here are the grass images of the two women, plus some other grass. The women are in the centre, you can see one clearly, it is the tallest one with a loop at the top (for the head). The other image is immediately left, but it is hard to see the loop for the head on this angle.

The next day, they burned the grass images and looked to see which direction the smoke went. They believe that indicates something about their cause of death (eg where the person who did sorcery to cause them to die is from). I'm not too clear on that.

Taking the images out to be burned:

The fire:

There are believers and two churches in the area, but traditional practices also still happen. Not everyone is Christian, just like in Australia.

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