14 January 2015

Christmas road-trip: Laban's party to celebrate being circumcised

Laban is the firstborn son of my friends, Nathan and Alice. For the 8.5 years I had my mud hut, they lived just a short distance down the hill. During those years, they had me over for dinner numerous times - always for chicken and ugali. Nathan also used to take care of my house whenever I was away.

Like many other Bukusu boys his age, Laban was circumcised a few months ago. It's typically done among this people group in August of every even-numbered year.

The following December (during the long school vacation), a celebration party is usually held. Friends and family bring gifts, and also bless the boys and pray for them.

Hannah and I were privileged to be in attendance at this special occasion in a village called Fafaral.

The event was held at Nathan and Alice's home, where they constructed a covering for the attendees.

The Bukusu are one of the Luhya sub-tribes; the Luhya are the third largest tribe in Kenya (after Kikuyu and Luo). They mostly live in the western part of Kenya. The Bukusu practice male circumcision, a traditional rite of passage for boys moving from childhood to adulthood. In their language, it's called khukhwingila, which whens means 'to enter'.

Traditionally it has been done outdoors, as a lengthy overnight event. The boys were circumcised in age-groups and the practice had a lot of traditional rituals associated with it. However, in modern times, more families are taking their boys to proper medical clinics for the procedure and the traditional beliefs are being replaced with a Christian viewpoint.

The party was held outside under the canopy. Those that didn't get seats, found a spot on the ground. Some folks hadn't seen each other for a long time, so there was a lot of joy. There was also lots of singing praise and worship songs. The music and the speeches were carried throughout the neighborhood with loud speakers.

There's always a special time for giving gifts, accompanied by lots of dancing and celebration. I gave Laban a new Bible; he was also given small cash gifts, a blanket, a large bunch of bananas, and this goat.

After the ceremony, everyone enjoyed a nice lunch and later - chai and mandazi (fried bread).

Laban's mom, Alice (middle foreground), and others enjoyed dancing and praising the Lord.

A bit part of any gathering in Kenya is speeches or 'saying a few words'. This is a small sample of those that greeted the crowd and addressed some comments to Laban: a 'mzee' (older gentleman), myself, Laban's young friend, a pastor friend of Nathan's, and Bishop (Nathan's older brother and Laban's uncle). 

It rained during the last part of the ceremony, so some people squeezed inside the house for lunch.

Others sat under the canopy.

Some found a spot wherever they could manage.

Proud parents and excellent host and hostess, Nathan and Alice

Jonas (Bishop and Nathan's oldest sister) who I had not seen for several years, and Laban

Just some of the many friends that came for the special occasion. I've known Pastor Job (center) for many years.

A few fun shots of the many children that attended
. . .

All of the photos were taken by my friend, Hannah, but I filmed the video clips.


Anonymous said...

Loved seeing all the beautiful people. Sharon R.

Anonymous said...

Happy New Year! Thanks for sharing!

You are often in my thoughts and prayers! May the Good Lord continue to sustain you, and supply all your needs!