Journey to manhood.
During this amazing journey, I had the absolute honor to witness a Bukusu circumcision ceremony.
It's more of an all-day and all-night affair, a rite of passage for each boy to transform into a Bukusu man.
They choose when they are ready, and their loved ones rally around them.
Humphrey was 12 when Pomona College professor and linguist Michael Diercks, and Kenyan linguist Maurice Sifuna went to his uncle's home near the Ugananda border in Kenya.
We waited in the house for the sounds of chanting and singing and isntruments. We were greeted by a small crowd of men and teens accompanying Humphrey on his first phase.
Here, he danced,a bull was slaughtered and grilled over fire for the first of a night of feasts, and an elder dressed him in its stomach, a tradition dating back to warriors, for courage in the coming challenges.
We then went to his family home, in the forest, joined by what must have been 100 or more people, singing and dancing, so many the ground shook.
We stayed up all night in celebration and in the dawn, I ran with the men to the river, were Humphrey and Joram stripped and ran into the chilly waters, then were covered in mud and ran back home for the procedure.
It was quick, it was surprising, and then we gave the now men gifts such as blankets and corn and other useful items.
They would heal in their houses for a month, then emerge men.
I had the honor of sharing the research they do in Bukusu, Logoori and Tiriki languages with others through magazine articles.
It is one of the most amazing times of my life and a gift of welcome and insight I will never take for granted.
Here is the article for Pomona College alumni magazine, which includes the Bukusu circumcision.