Monday, January 25, 2010


We had the opportunity to attend an unyagu ceremony or initiation ceremony for Mateus' two girls, who are 12 and 11 years old. These periods of initiation have a very negative conotation and a lot of very scarey stuff goes on during them. The boys and girls have separate initiations and they each are taught about the Yao culture as well as taught what it is to be a woman and what it is to be a man. The boys are circumcised and taught that they can ask for sex from any female they want. It is their right. And girls are taught that they must say yes to any man that asks for sex. Many times they are taunted and stimulated sexually. This particular one, was supposed to take out a lot of the negative teachings and focus more on Yao culture. No one really knows what when on, because they are done very privately. When the initiation period is over, there is a HUGE party. The girls have all new clothes and either have their hair done or get wigs. A goat is killed and relatives from all over travel to come celebrate. We were able to be a part of this party. For Yao Christians, it is a very difficult decision whether or not to participate in these unyagus. If you don't participate, you aren't considered Yao, and yet with such wrong teachings going on during the initiation, you don't want your children to be taught those things. They have to find an alternative or like this create an unyagu that takes out the negative teachings.

Our gift presentation to Rosa and Linda.

We brought some cakes for the party. We never saw Rosa or Linda smile the entire day. They were very solemn. It makes you wonder if they were traumatized or just acting "grown up".

Waiting for the food.

Everyone had a good day except for this poor unfortunate goat. Yum!

The HUGE pan of Shima being made by the women.


Leslie Norris said...

Wow....I can't believe that you experienced that.....I guess the full force of the culture and its darkness was something you were bound to be exposed to. Fortunately, you don't have to explain the full extent of these rituals to your kids. We will pray that you will be able to speak truth and love into these children's lives. The Lord bless you as you do His work.

Lindsay said...

Poor, unfortunate goat?!...more like poor, unfortunate sewing machine!!!
Just kidding. My eyes recognized what it was, but it seemed like an odd context for a be a goat head prop.

Were these girls Mateus's oldest kids...or had this been something they'd had to think through before?
Interesting how parents of teens in every culture have to decide what to let their kids participate in, and what to guard them from.