Homoko Alembo is a good husband, say his five wives. “He lets us alone and does not call us when the children are small.” Abstinence, while waiting for children to be strong and the women able fully to work again. “But the other men break tradition” they say. “Some women have one child on the right breast and one on the left and are expected to keep all their children alive, work the gardens, and take care of the pigs.”
One wife cost 19 pigs
Only Lunama is here since the beginning. Homoko Alembo must share his time and the best pig morsels equally among his wives. He is closely watched. Four of them are scrapping about it. Without hesitation, he sends them all back to their former homes and buys four new ones!! He has to pay 19 pigs for each. I listen to him telling me his story, concluding: “The prices have increased, the first ones were cheaper!” I agree and add that this is a global trend, prices are going up everywhere on the planet. I can’t help but ponder my own market value. Do I have one?
That is the way it is here
Mule brings out her skirt, washes it and sets it down to dry on the floor. Then, on her mother’s orders, she goes to move the pigs so they will be in the shade. “Our mothers, they tell us what to do: get the wood, the pigs, and the firewood. We don’t say anything, we do the work. That is the way it is here,” explains Mule.
It is the men who raise the boys
Homoko Alembo’s five wives live with the young children and the girls in three huts. Upon reaching the age of 7, the boys move in with the men who will raise them from then on in their own house.