Terrill mentioned in a post on Facebook last night that we were listening to negotiations for a bride price at our neighbor's village. We got quite a few interested responses to this and a friend asked us to blog about it so I'll try to expand on the story a bit.
The brother of our close neighbor & friend is negotiating for a wife. This brother found the girl he wants at a village a couple of hours walk to the west. Well, one custom of the men here is to 'steal' a woman from her village. It's actually a Karamojong custom that the Ik are starting to pick up and practice. So a few days ago, a group of men went to this village to 'steal' away this girl. Supposedly, her brothers came after her (her parents weren't home at the time) and when they got close to Timu (where our neighbor lives and the girl was taken), one of the brother's family members called the army to go after those men. The brothers were beaten and not happy about the situation.
Side note: we have an army garrison stationed in Timu and a few soldiers are usually around to keep the peace. More than once, an Ik has called upon the soldiers for help by falsely accusing other people and getting others in trouble until the truth comes out.
So the girl has been staying in Timu and waiting for her family to come for negotiations. Her name is Rose and she's very sweet.
Rose's family arrived yesterday afternoon. They went straight to our neighbor's village and the negotiations started. There was yelling, threats, sticks being waved around, drinking & speeches. The family was not happy because they said negotiations weren't traditionally carried out this way. A man was supposed to start talking to a woman's family years in advance. He would let them know of his intention and would start negotiating a price and saving up. I honestly don't know what all went on between the two families in advance or what understanding they had. I did hear someone speculate that they think the Ik men stole the girl away because another man was also negotiating for her hand in marriage. Taking her would give them the upper hand. After blowing off a lot of steam, the girl's family named a price of 600,000 Ugandan shillings (currently about $261). Then they 'fined' the family another 200,000 shillings ($87) because the brothers had been beaten by the soldiers for no reason. At the end of the night, peace was made and Lojore was responsible for feeding & housing the girl's family.
We heard the discussion peeking from behind some boulders. We didn't want to make much of a scene because white skin equals money here and because we're our neighbor's 'adopted' clan members, the girl's family might have placed an expectation upon us as well.
What's next? I'm not sure, but stay tuned in to the Ik Love Connection.