If you were having coffee with me, I would be happy you visited, I would tell you to pay no mind to the goat smell lingering, as I have had goats as guests for the past couple of days and then as the main menu for dinner.
If you were having coffee with me, I would ask you about the expression “bat shit crazy” I have been thinking, out of all the poop in the world, who decided bats’ was the craziest.
After a day grazing in the backyard, I let the goats sleep in the kitchen and in the morning the smell of goat droppings permeates the walls and thats crazy.
If you were having coffee with me I bet you might wondering I keep such unusual house guests, I would tell you they were goats from sister’s husband, to his mother-in-law for the masungiro ceremony.
Masungiro / kusungira is a tradition observed by some families/culture; where just before the birth of the first child, a pregnant woman in her last trimester goes back home to her maternal home, to not only get advice on childbirth and childcare in familiar surroundings but to ensure she has the full blessings and support of the family and thus have a stress-free birth.
The ceremony also gives a reason for a daughter’s in-laws to meet and socialise with the rest of the family and enjoy some goat meat over relaxed circumstances and to show how they are now welcome as part of the family through the union of marriage.
In the past the masungiro ceremony involved slaughtering a goat in a ritualistic offering to the family ancestors to ensure that the new born child would be welcomed to the family and to secure a complication-free delivery as first births have a high risk of unexpected developments. The ceremony is also for the mothers that, now that their daughter is having a child they must not suffer from the sympathetic back pain, which might cause them to inadvertently curse the daughter’s child birth, words have power.
A presentation is made of the goats by the in-laws to the wife’s family, and a token amount of money paid along with this presentation; after which the goats can be slaughtered and be part of the meal as people meet and socialise with their in-laws; the last opportunity for most of them would have been been at the maroworo ceremony
If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that some people still observe some form of the old traditions and over the weekend my sister’s in-laws visited to pay my mother respects for the masungiro ceremony; amongst the gifts they brought were wrappers for the family mothers which after placing them on door threshold and going in and out of the house, they would tie around their waists to symbolise how they wont suffer from the backache of their daughter’s condition as they have been strengthened by the respect shown to them; the material can be tailored into a dress at later date.
At the end of masungiro the daughter can choose to go back with her husband or to stay with her parents until she gives birth and maybe a little bit after that, in my sister’s case she picked to return with her husband and the next time I see her I will be uncle…
If you were having coffee with me I would ask you knew of any other ceremonies and traditions celebrating new mothers and motherhood…
Have an awesome week ahead