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06/25/2009

Feces on my face

090514_dsc02424   JEN organized a ground-breaking ceremony at Somba Primary School on June 10th where we have been assisting their school building construction.

  The construction had started before that day, but people from the Bari tribe, who were among the indigenous ethnic groups in Southern Sudan, suggested JEN to organize a traditional ceremony as something special for the construction workers. Local tribe chiefs, staff from the Education Ministry of the Government of Southern Sudan, and a representative from UNHCR, which is JEN’s partner in the project, all joined the ceremony. 

  The ceremony was held to make awareness how to ensure the safety of the construction workers and the health of the people involved, and it involves animal sacrifice. JEN contributed one goat, corn powder, cooking oil, salt, tomatoes, and a barrel  of locally brewed alcohol as the Bari people are well-known as heavy drinkers!

  Soon after being handed over the goat and other food stuff, the local chief inaugurated the ceremony by offering the animal in sacrifice. He took all the blood from its neck and seeped it into the ground. He also took its feces and urine, add cooking oil onto them and mixed them before placing them on the school building site. Local women kept shouting loudly throughout the ceremony, so as every creature on the ground could hear.   

  Later the tribe chief stopped in front of me, and uttered an incantation. I closed my eyes to listen to it. I opened my eyes when I felt something warm put on my face to find he was putting the sacred feces and urine on me! 

  A government officer told me that the feces on my face would guarantee my safety and good health. Would this animal poo bring me luck? I must admit I was in shock, I was out of my mind while attendants gave their speeches. All I could remember was the unusual smell!.

  It was such an unexpected experience that I was totally at a loss. Gradually, I became happy that my good health was now guaranteed.

June 25, 2009 in South Sudan |