Sunday, January 5, 2014

Tarushake (boys becoming men)

So this is the way that I, a muzungu, understands this whole process here. Boys that are the age from 13-18 go to the forest for about a month to be taught by the elders in the community in how to be a man, hunt, be a good husband, etc. They are also circumcised during this time and live out in the forest by themselves. The family cannot visit them out there. The following pictures are when the boys who are now men came out of the forest for the day to greet the family and community. They kept themselves covered with cow hide with eye holes cut out and it is long grass tied to their backs. Tied to the long grass are animal hides that they killed while they were in the forest. Their legs and arms are painted with white clay.

After a while of my Dad taking pictures of this whole ceremony of the boys to men greeting the community, my Dad was asked to be a part of the ceremony. The Kugo's (grandfathers) and Kogo's (grandmothers) went around and greeted each of the new men. So my Dad was in the procession of greeting each of them by hitting them with grass on their hands (you can't shake their hands).

If you ever run into my Dad he has a lot of fun stories to tell you about this experience!

Just about everywhere that we went in Kenya my Dad got a lot of stares for his white hair!


  1. . . . and the lady in the last picture wanted me to come smoke a cigar with her.

  2. such an amazing opportunity to witness this presumably very old ritual i am sure you will never forget you know what the symbolism of the costumes and such are ...congratulations to the Men MissyT