Turkana

Long bus trip to Turkana but worth it for the humbling experience and the inspiring beadwork.

Turkana girls start buying beads at young age and when they have enough they make their own necklaces. These necklaces don’t come off but when they get married  (thanks in part to a good necklace making them attractive) they remove all the beads they’ve accumulated during adolescence and give them to the mother of the husband. Then they start all over again, but this time with different colours and patterns. For the married woman the necklace is not just about beauty but a symbol of wealth. It is never removed but for certain ceremonies they add other, special necklaces.

I have a long neck and I wanted to wear one of these so I asked if I could buy one. They said that is impossible. You cannot wear another woman’s necklace. But, they said, if I buy my own beads they can make me one. One day I will.

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