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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Rituals of Males Circumcision in Rural White Nile State (2-2)

Most rural areas dwellers in White Nile state suffer joblessness during the brief season of Alroshash

. They don't stand idly by as victims staring in the bleak horizon in desperation. But they earnestly engage in sideline activities that drive away the boredom associated with the ample leisure time during the day until the night comes .When the sun sets the villagers breath the sigh of relief because it ushers in great fun .The boys play traditional games especially in the moony nights which with the combination of Sand dunes provide a favorable, leveled and sufficiently illuminated playing fields paralleling modern urban parks .The grown-ups congregate in groups based on blood kinships. They lie on the naked hospitable Sandy ground chatting about agricultural issues , the sermon of the Friday imam who failed to touch on the urgent hot issues which ranged from spread of moral decadence to the corrupt local officials,  the dwindling sources of drinking water , the spread of water born diseases,  the scarcity of consumer goods, the poor academic performance of their boys and their reluctance  to continue schooling favouring migration to Omdurnan to work in small retail shops or  Kanteens. During these amicable nightly conversations stories of success and failures were aired out.
The success is mostly financial (the son of X has made a fortune. He had rebuilt the family hause , bought  a donkey driven- cart to augment the family income ¡ paid high dowry for his bride ,clothed his siblings for the Eid, the most successful ones afforded their parents the chance to migrate to Saudi Arabia to perform the pilgrimage or the Hajj ) all these discussions were interrupted by serving of supper meal which varied from one household to another. Some provide the favorable hot Assida a form of porridge made from Dura covered with Mullah Stew made from dried beef mixed with okra powder or Roob - sour milk also mixed with powdered okra.The well off ones would provide grilled meat which is greedily devoured as an appetizer.
To whether out the job crisis with its subsequent economic impacts the villager while away their time by a warm up for the new season. They sharpen their traditional agricultural tools so as not to be taken aback when the rainy season sets in early autumn which sometimes comes prematurely in May and June.
Many villagers owned rain-fed lands in addition to registered irrigated ones. They engage in a risky business which is called Alromaid by sowing Dura seeds in dry soil in anticipation of the weather vagaries and fluctuations. This practice amounts to gambling. But it's a legitimate gambling they attach the success of the venture on God mercy come what may they grow. Sometimes they succeed .The rainy season begins earlier making their hopes of a bumper harvest come true and sometimes they fail by making the sowed seeds a soft target for hungry rodents .They mostly grew Dura in the rain-fed holdings to make up for the fiscal deficit which emanates from water shortage resulting from canals dry up when Jebel Aulia dam water barriers are removed making it freely gushing towards the thirsty Egyptian soil. At this time of year the most crucial task is carried out  .It is the storage of the Moona .The Moona is very vital for the villagers survival  to the point of making it a yard stick to one's eligibility  for marriage. The Moona involves provision of a reliable source of living for the household, in other words the ability to drive the wolf away at times of food scarcity. A successful candidate must show the ability to provide sufficient stock of food during hard times mainly Dura the staple food of the population. It is the annual stock guaranteeing immunity from hunger. This Dura is stored underneath an honest ground called Matamers. Matamers are shallow underground holes manually dug to store Dura temporarily before the next rainy season sets in  .They are the equivalent of today's silos .The soil used to be very honest because it returned the Dura seeds intact, solid and white .It used to drive away it's preying sons and daughters. The rodents to mention a few the moles,  the ants ,the rats and other burrowing rodents .Comes the rainy season Dura is hastening unearthed .The least water would quicken its transformation into full grown Dura plant. The villagers assemble rapidly in volunteering group called Nafeer to save the crop from loss. Piles of it are collected in sacks for homely storage. Matamers of the old days were pretty kind and straight forward.
They neither   asked for a price against the storage service nor attached strings like today's ones .Nowadays the Dura must be sprayed with pesticides prior to its burial. These pesticides act as a shield against potential predators. After the burial of Dura stock .The villagers reach out for their mud- built dwellings. Renovations works begin with renewal of the wall plaster .This back breaking mission are called Alzibala. Alzibala guards against the wetting lashes of rainfall. Unzibaled homes crumble like biscuits thrown on hit milk during unpredictable rainy seasons. Alzibala is a stinking mixture of clay and donkey's dung .This blend is made into a sticky liquid by addition of water then covered by clay in a small mound .It is left to ferment for several days .The mound is temporarily opened to check the quality of Alzibala which is solely determined by the degree of stinkingness. The nastier Zibala is .the surer the plaster will last and withstand rainwater. Eventually  Zibala mound is  opened. Two hired workers wade in barefoot mixing it by movements of legs .The senior worker applies Zibala on the walls while the junior one brings it from the mound .The whole village is now submerged into stench. If anyone grumbles from the smell or voices rejection visa vise this environment pollution, he will be rebuked by the workers and the house owner .The second renovations work is the rebuilding of Kashashas. Kashasha is shade built in front of or around the house .It serves as a reception for guests and a sitting room for house occupants because the mudrooms interiors are relatively hotter during summer season.  They are built from straw locally called Ombarbit. It is a green tall grass which grows in abundance in White Nile western bank .The leaves of the plant are stripped and left  to dry .The long straw is made into matrix which is fastened by ropes against dry tree branches calked Shiebas.On the eve of circumcision. The boy's hand is covered with Hina that gives durable black color on the palm and red one on fingernails.
This ceremony is carried out  in the night before the songs of girls and women who use pottery drums to accompany choral locally authored songs .A bull would be slaughtered before dawn .as the cimices or arrives in the house ,the ululations of women get louder. The whole village assembles. The boy is stripped naked safe from the upper part and put on a toppled wooden goblet which is big dish used for collective eating. The Whitley clad cimices would brandish his sharp blade on the terrified face of the boy .He approached him reassuringly, he pulls his foreskin and then insert an inch sized reed made from Dura shanks in it. Eventually the foreskin is cut by the blade without the use of anesthetics. Blood would rush out in torrent staining the short cotton garment of the boy .However painful the practice is, the boy is strongly advised not to weep or even wiggle lest he would be socially stigmatized for life.