Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sipi Falls and Sebei Cultural Center

The day after Christmas was our P-day.  We decided last week that we were going to take some time and drive back up to Sipi Falls .  It is a beautiful place in the mountains and it sounded nice to go back up there, just the two of us.  We hiked the short trail up to the middle falls.  There were a lot of people hiking this time.  I guess it’s because of the Christmas holiday.  

Last time we were there we didn’t hike up to the area that gets you close to the back of the falls so that was fun to do this time.  When we got up to that point we saw a girl sitting there by herself.  

  A little while we noticed another girl to the other side of us.  After we took a few pictures of the falls these girls stood up and we noticed that they weren’t girls at all but were teenage boys!  We had to laugh when our guide told us they were wearing skirts because they were recently circumcised!!

There is a tradition in this area of Uganda that is quite barbaric.  It reminds me in the Book of Mormon when the wicked traditions of their fathers were carried on from generation to generation.  This is one great example of a very wicked tradition!  

If you are squeamish do not read further.

 Every two years there is a ‘holiday’ that begins in August and ends in December. It is called Mbalu.  Boys either 16 or 17 years old are encouraged (or badgered I should say) to be publicly circumcised.  If they decide to do it, than a big group of people (mostly between the ages of 10- 25 from my guess) get together as a group and march down the streets in preparation for the circumcision.  There are people playing drums.  The men carry sticks or tree branches and some of the girls (yes, girls and are involved with this, too) paint their faces with a white chalky substance.  They march around the streets letting others know that a circumcision is about to take place.  This march is called a Kadodi.  

When it comes time for the circumcision to take place the young man holds two heavy sticks over his head and is not allowed to cry out, flinch or even move his eyes while it is taking place.  This is all done in front of a big crowd.  If he does cry out or flinch then he is shunned by the people and is not considered a "man".  When I first heard of this “tradition” I was sick to my stomach.  I still get a sick feeling when I see these kadodis marching around.  There have been so many in this month of December.  

Anyway, we saw these newly circumcised young “men” wearing skirts at the waterfall and the irony was not lost on us!  It had been twelve days since their circumcision took place and they still could not wear pants because they were in pain.  Anytime Rick looks at the pictures he giggles thinking of these wanna be men wearing skirts. 

After we visited Sipi Falls we drove a little further up the mountain.  We found a sign for a cultural center and thought that would be fun to check out.  We found the owner of the place (his name is Kali) and he gave us a little tour of his blossoming property.  It is a work in progress that he has been working on for two years now. It is a campground/cultural center/restaurant/and sometime in the future a hotel.  He has three different generational Sebei Village homes that he has built.  He took us inside each one and had a few artifacts to show how the Sebei used to live.  The Sebei are also known as the Mt. Elgon Masai.  They are cattlemen like the masai (the masai come from Kenya just right across the border from this area and they are a common tribe that are well known thorughout the world.)  Remember the Kevin Bacon show from the 90’s “The Air Up There”? 

 We enjoyed the afternoon walking around and learning about the Sebei people.  Kali’s place was located on a bluff and overlooked the whole valley.  It is a beautiful piece of property. I love his idea of creating this place for tourists!  Especially since it is so close to Sipi Falls.   More Ugandans need to think outside of the box to bring new ideas into creating new businesses.  He told us that if we book before hand he can have cultural dancers come and put on a show.  We like that idea and so we might go back another time for thatJ

We enjoyed our P-day after our big weekend and felt rejuvenated for our week ahead.

                           This is a wedding necklace

.......And one for the man

                                A very sharp sword and a rabbit hat.

                                 A couple of different types of mud huts.

                                             A beautiful view of the valley.

Elder Phelps enjoying a rolex for a snack.  While it was being prepared he curled up on that bench with his head in my lap and napped for about 20 minutes.  He was ready for the drive home after that!

1 comment:

  1. I'm Glad that you got to go to the waterfalls and have a little 'time off' like that. That circumcision custom is very interesting--(and very dreadful!)
    On your Christmas post, I forgot to mention how BRAVE it was of you to go ahead and finish fixing that nice Christmas dinner--even though your kitchen was so very hot and the DAY was so very hot! And I'm proud of you for making a CAKE!! Love, Karen