December 11, 2005
I waked up at 7 am with a baby cry and everyone’s noise. But its okay, I really had some stuff to do. They gave me some milk to drink (not so tasteful) and bread. Now in the day light I can see the farm. It’s very big – Engelbert told me there are 500 hectares –; there is a first house – just when you enter through the farm’s gate – where stays Jafta, his wife, his adoptive daughter and his son Clement with his family (when they are on the farm, they don’t live there). There is another gate that lead to the little church they had inside the farm, another gate that lead to Engelbert’s house (where he stays, with his wife and his two kids – a boy and a girl –, when he’s in the farm). In the rest of the farm there is some plantation places, a kraal with some chickens, ships and cows and some three or four houses made with some rests of cars and houses where live the farm’s workers. Out side the central home (Jefta’s one) there is a place for the fire (there is one in each house) and a big coals cool room when they put all those ship and cows meat they have.
When I got out, everyone was around the fire – like they always do, drinking some tea or doing some sour milk porridge (in Otjiherero stays oruhere romaere). I kind of meet every one, I mean, we just made some head movements and every one, as me, smiled, a lot. After that I went through the gates until Engelbert’s house to meet his own family. I think that maybe he is sad because I didn’t slept in his house. Yesterday he asks me to talk with his wife on the telephone when we were on his sister’s house. But now would be okay, I finally met his family.
After that Engelbert and me started doing my tend. It was all right, it’s not the best one, but it has space, and that’s the most important.
Good talking in the afternoon. I just went to Jefta’s house so I could be familiarized with them and start doing some contact. So I just start talking with clement about Engelbert. I was asking why don’t his brother and his family stay in their house, away from the others. He said that is the way he is, but any way, there is a tradition between Herero people that when some woman get married she has to stay just with her husband, at home, for two or three months, but after that, he said, every thing become normal again. When he finished, he started to translate our talking to his father, and so, Jefta started drawing in the send something like a circle with some village houses. (See the drawing on my notes)
After he finished drawing he started to explain it to Clement and every one that as me just got closed to see the draw and listen what he was saying. After a kind of long explanation, Clement translated to me, saying that his father was drawing about the Herero’s life on their genesis. He continued: “on the beginning love was a strong feeling between the villages” – that on the time were divided into families –, the chief of the family lived on the big house in front of the kraal – power and richness indicator –, in his right lived his brothers and sisters family, in the other side it was his sons and daughters – as always if the woman got married with a man of another village she must go after him and leave her family. So, he said that when, for example, when some one cooked some thing (it didn’t matter if it was the some food of the other) they just put some on a plate and changed with the other families, so that, said Clement, “created a love way between each other”. Jefta continued, and Clement translated again: What he – his father – can see today is that those “love ways” are fading out. On past times, when some father’s sons got married, they would receive from him some caws and so the sons could go a way and make up his own family, with his own village. Only the last son to get married – usually the younger – was responsible for taking care if the parents. When he gets married he should still stay in the village taking care of his parents. Jefta talks again doing some theater acts about that: He took a spoon and just putted on his month as if he was smoking some pipe, and so, he started pointing to something as if it was the tobacco, and them pointing to Clement (the younger son) and them to the “pipe”. He was wondering who would put tobacco on his pipe if the youngest son didn’t do it? And also, who would clean up his wife – because on that time mothers usually didn’t took bath – if not his youngest son’s wife. Every one laugh. Very funny man. After that Jefta ask Clement to ask me what else I wanted to know? There is a lot of thing, of course. But I couldn’t just starting question a lot of things. So I just asked how does the religion worked out on these places, if each family prayed in different ways, if they use different ancestors. Clement translated saying that the “holy fire” is the only creator god, but each family has their on ancestors that they use to access god. Ones stay in the front of the holy fire and ask what ever this one need in the name of his ancestors. So each family has different ancestors that can be powerful from than the others. Matuzee family, for example, is descendent of the great leader Maherero that was the Herero’s leader in the beginning of the last century. So when they’re not Christians they usually used Maherero as a way to god, and that – being Maherero descendents – made them strong. They could go to others villages and take every one as slaves by the “power of Maherero”.
Finally, I’m on Jefta’s house writing down all that while they are talking and the children are kidding on the yard. They were all laughing on my because I need to write every thing so I’ll not forget it. They sow I was drawing and Jefta just ask me to see the drawing I did of his own draw. Very fun. Jefta is a good person and I think he has a lot to tell me.
The night goes one, we seat around the fire on Jefta’s house. If you look to the huge field you can see some other fire spots, the only light mixed with the stars (ozonyose) and the moon (omueze). Beautiful night, I drunk some nice tea and followed a baby in the dark until Engelbert’s where my tend is. We talked about any thing special. Some falling stars and some walking ones going to Okondjato’s direction, I’m anxious to get there. I think this time in the farm has been a good preparation time before I go to Okundjato. I just learned some words on Otjiherero. I think I’ll buy some thing to do like a dictionary. I tasted some cuto’s meat (animal like a horse but with some big horns). Very nice, the meat is usually eaten fresh, not so blooding fresh, but just partially done. It’s very hard to eat, but we just putted some on the fire so it got more soft.
Karare nawa (good night)
Posted by josue at December 11, 2005 06:13 PM