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Kem Life

Homage to the Woman


Homage to the Kem Woman

This picture represents a Kem woman carrying an infant on her back, which is in order to carry out her daily jobs. The woman represents life, stability, and the home which is represented in the picture by a hut. The woman represents the protective force of the family. The woman is the family, she is the voice of the home.

In life, we often have difficulties in solving our problems, by the way we don’t grant value to certain advice which could have been used to guide us on the right track. This tale pays homage to the woman who is our mother, the source of life and the cradle of humanity because she occupies a very important place in our lives and in society.

There was a village, where there lived a chief and his villagers.  But since the appointment of the chief, it was as if misfortune had struck the village. There was not sufficient rain to produce a good harvest. Thus, the hungry population was not able to eat. Also, none the chief’s wives ever had children. Rumors ran all throughout the village because there were too many questions about the heir to the chief. One day, the chief convened a meeting with his notables and the wise ones of the village and all inhabitants without distinction, so that they could see together how to solve these problems before the situation went from bad to worse. All of the villagers answered his call, and thus the wise ones and the notable ones proposed their ideas and the debate was open.

At a point when the meeting became very intense, they were disrupted by a rabbit who was being chased by a dog. The rabbit fled into the courtyard, directly beneath the seat of the chief to take refuge from the dog. The dog slowed down when it saw people and sat right where it entered the court to wait for its prey to try to escape. As he waited, he heard the people speak of the difficulties which arose while trying to find solutions so that the chief could have children and for there to be enough rain for the next seasons.

The chief threw his hand under his seat and snatched the rabbit from its hiding place. The rabbit then requested permission to speak. Having listened to the goal of the meeting, he addressed the chief in these terms, “Chief! Chief! Now that my survival depends on you, I ask you for help. I will be grateful to you. In my family we produce a good medicine which allows any woman to become fertile and to have children.”

After these remarks, the chief and his assistants were upset in the face of these proposals. They couldn’t decide which decision to take to relieve their population. The people were split on the decision. One side would like to resolve the problem of fertility because the chief must have an heir and that, concerning the rain, that could be re-examined later. Of another perspective were those who asked that the rabbit be surrendered to the dog so that the village would have good rain – because in this famine, if the population dies of hunger, what village will the chief have to control?
While the discussion became increasingly hot, the wives of the chief and the women of the village heard the conversation but did not have the right to intervene as long as the word was not given to them. The women asked for permission to speak in order to present what they thought about it, because this business concerned them too. But their request was refused and they were told to calm themselves because this was not the business of women. After a long insistence, one of the close relatives of the chief asked him to listen to the women and if their proposal did not have value, it could be rejected.

Permission was granted for the women to speak and everyone listened to the one representing them: “In the name of all the women, I would like that the chief ask the dog if he wants meat, or only the meat of this rabbit. If it tells the chief that it only wants meat, he will know how to satisfy it with all this herd of cattle which he has outside. The question was posed to the dog, who confirmed that it has not eaten in seven days and that it was really starving and sought only food. Thus, everyone turned towards the chief who ordered for a large sheep to be sought out. The sheep was killed for the dog which regaled itself correctly in a corner of the court.

During this time, the rabbit left its hiding-place and presented a medicine which it gave to the chief, telling him that it belongs to the family of rabbits, allowing them to be more fertile and to have many children. While the the starving dog regaled itself, the rabbit was released from its hiding-place, and ran, in a hasty gallop, to return in the bush. After a while, by the time the dog finished eating, clouds had already begun to form and in followed a very large rain which cut down on all the locality, to the great satisfaction of all the village.

Thus the following years the royal court was filled with children. Life became beautiful and joyous again, with plenty of rain and enough food to satisfy the appetites of the entire village’s population.

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