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Village Life is Simple

Many African villages share a commonality in that everyday life depending on the time of year is heavily focused on agriculture. Like many places in the world, villages cycle through four seasons; in Nuer (Sudanese language) we refer to them as Joom (Winter), Maai (Spring), Rel (Summer), and Toot (Fall). There is what, one might refer to as a natural and organic way of living. A typical day for a teenager would be depicted as so: beginning with a morning routine. In the Fall, your average male teenager would wake up no later than eight in the morning to commence his daily chores. Teenagers are often required to collect cow dung after the cows have finished their business, and take the dung to a special storage. This storage area is far from the general area where the cows are kept, be that a barn or an enclosed fence. The dung is left in this particular area as a way to dry it so that it may later be burned and used for fuel.

After having finished their primary chores, they are able to engage other activities such as going down to the water and splashing about and catching fish for recreation. In the afternoon after lunch has been served, it is often back to business; cow and other livestock are let out into an open field where they roam around until the late afternoon. A sense of camaraderie is bestowed upon you at the first interaction in the village setting. People treat one another not as neighbors but as extended family who care about  each other’s difficulties. It is commonplace for sharing and without attachment to one’s possessions, there is instead a communal understanding that you should help your neighbor in tough times as they would do the same for you.

In the evening, livestock is brought back to their holding place. Cows, in particular, are rejoined with their calf and heifer. At this point, milk has been extracted for community use and thus okay for the infants to feed. Along with tending to the livestock, ensuring the well-being of the village through growing crops, plays an important part in everyday life.

The cycle of the day ends when sun-hardened dung is burned as a means of fuel for heating to prepare meals and any other use. The smoke from the dung is also used to kill bugs. Dinners are an ideal time for families to gather to enjoy fresh and hot meals prepared by the women of the house.

Family is very important and cherishing the everyday simplicities is what make this manner of living so comforting. There may not be the most advanced technology in these parts of the world, but  their wealth comes from something else, familial cohesion.

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