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Traditions Surrounding Giving Birth in the Guéra

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     When a woman gives birth, she cannot leave her living quarters.  It is believed that she is in danger of becoming sick with certain illnesses, or that she will be "captured" by evil spirits.  For one week, she washes herself with warm water.  She must wash herself very early in the morning and before the sun sets.  The day after a name is given to her child, the mother will begin working again.  However, she will only go out if she has a knife or the horns of a "buffalo" in hand to protect herself and her life against the evil spirits.  The first day of the second week, the woman will leave her home carrying a stalk of millet seeds in a gourd as if she were going to fetch water.  When she arrives at the intersection of two roads or two trails, she will smash the gourd and continue on her way.
     Long ago, babies were given leaves of certain trees as medicine to prevent stomach problems or diarrhoea.  During the epidemics of measles, whooping-cough, chicken-pox and meningitis, there were many deaths.  In our day, we remove the uvula, and this heals many sicknesses.  We use donkey's milk to cure whooping-cough, and tamarind fruit to cure measles.  One can drink the water of the fruit once it has been boiled, or place it on the eyes.

Taken from the book "Là où habitent les femmes", edited by Renée Johns and Rachel Bokoro of the Mennonite Central Committee, in 1993.




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Attention our friends from all corners of Chad! Please tell us about the traditions surrounding giving birth where you are from, and we will publish what you tell us here on our website.  You will thus share a part of your heritage with the entire world, and you will help people everywhere to understand us and our country better.

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