26 December 2008

Early Morning Wedding

The Rendille wedding starts with a procession of warriors marching and singing their way to the brides mothers house. The groom leads the pack, driving a fat tailed sheep in front of him. When the group reaches the vilages border, the mother comes out with a friend and takes the groom and best mans shoes. They will walk barefoot the rest of the week in the thorny, rocky desert.
The marriage becomes official when the sheep is slaughtered before the house and a long thick strip of fat is extracted. The groom and best man carry the fat into the house with trembling hands and knees because if the girls mom rejects the fat, the marriage is over. Thankfully this never happens and the men retreat out of the house and break out the Chai (hot, syrupy tea) and break into a dance. 

11 November 2008

Water is Life

Water is life. Easy access often means an easy life. Conversely, when its more than 10km to the well and daytime temperatures are over 350c (100f), life can be hard work. 

This unmarried Rendille girl is fetching water for her family. From her home in the Rengumo clan village it takes her more than an hour to walk to this well. Two hours to draw the water for the containers and the pack-donkeys who will carry them. Four hours minimum for a load of about 100 liters that will last about two days shared out between up to 20 people in the extended family.

When was the last time you had to work for your water? Next time you are lying in the bath take a moment to remember the desert nomads.

30 September 2008

Rendille Kids Lives

Rendille children typicaly own one string of beads and nothing else. At least until they get to about two years old (girls), or six or seven for boys (then they get a cloth- still no shoes till later). They are naughty like all kids but confident and happy. 

Work starts early with kids hearding the lambs from an early age. Girls have two main tasks; they collect firewood and they fetch water. Typically getting the families supply of these will take up their whole day and will involve walking more than 20 kilometers! School girls still have these responsibilites (The girl in the portrait above was shot at the wells where she was fetching water for her mom), and this makes it very hard for the girls to do well in school. 

So my thought as I look at the Rendille children is this; what will the future hold? Can the nomadic life of their parents survive the encroaching westernization? What hope do they have?

22 September 2008

Soft Haired Child

The Rendille may look a bit like the famous Masai with red cloths and tall thin frames but the reality is that everything else about them is different. The Masai are 'nilotic' in linguistic classification and the Rendille are 'cushitic'. The Rendilles closest language family is Somali and they resemble them closely in culture, looks (note the loose wavy hair and fine features of the girl pictured here), and sound. To the untrained ear Rendille sounds more arabic than african.
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21 September 2008

Caity and Abby

My little girlies. We are adopting the two cutest little baby girls in the world. Life has never been boring since we met!

20 September 2008

Ringision and Tirrim Primary School

At Tirrim Primary School Rendille kids have the opportunity to learn about a world outside of camels, sand and sun. Christian teachers give children like Ringison (pictured) hope. Besides that they also get a meal every day, something most in her family have no guarantee of.