Hymn for a camel

Hollyhocks bloom here nearly all year round, the butterfly frontier moves swiftly north and the sea level rises. It seems that worldwide the weather is mixed up and the climate is changing. Scientists, believers and sceptics, throw numbers and scientific research at each other. But what about the farmers, fishermen and shepherds, what are the stories of those that are dependent of nature in their daily lives? The Museon, which is an museum in the Hague, devotes an exhibition, which will be launched in 2013, to their stories. Anne-Marie Boer, Diederik Veerman and Thom Deelstra will travel as climate reporters to Kenya, Delfland and Kiribati to find out what kind of changes the locals experience and what that means for their way of life and culture. The first stop for the Museon expedition will be North-Kenya, this February. There the reporters will be visiting the Samburu for 3 ½ weeks. The Samburu, is a herds people consisting of about 200.000 persons. They live a semi-nomadic life in an area about 8 times the size of the Netherlands. The Samburu live in family groups. Girls are circumcised just before their wedding. As soon as the ceremony is over she will leave her own family to live with her husband and his family. The circumcision ritual of the boys only takes place once every 14 years. A whole group of boys becomes at that moment ‘moran’ or warrior. These are the active shepherds who, together with the children look after the cattle, which means searching for water, digging wells and protecting their animals from thieves. After fourteen years they will continue to the next phase, they become ‘elders’ who sit around the fire and give advice. The climate reporters try to follow the daily life of the Samburu ‘hands-on’. Anne-Marie: “we prefer to stay and live with a family. We would like to ask the older generation how their lives used to be. We also want to experience with the younger generations how they live now. Which actions do the shepherds take to bridge the extreme long periods of drought? What kind of changes do they experience in their lives? Are animals, bees, plants etcetera disappearing? How do the women get their firewood? Is it even possible to gather enough dowry when the animals do not have a long life? What about the rituals, pride and status when a shepherd chooses, as advised, for camels instead of cows? Are the hymns now sung for camels instead of cows? People are creative, they invent, even in tough times solutions for problems. That is what we want to learn about and that is what we want to show in the exhibition.” Anne-Marie Boer

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