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Masai marriage, children, divorce

December 21, 2009

The first born child of a Masai man and his wife is the property of the father.  Each subsequent child is the property of the mother.  In the event of the marriage falling apart, the first born child goes with the father and the other children with their mother.

Namnyak has two children.  Her first born, Bahati, is the son of Olengunin, and belongs to Olengunin.  Her second child, Sara, is the child of her sister and brother in law, and was gifted to her when Sara was only a few months old.  Sara is now considered the child of Namnyak and Olengunin, and Sara’s original parents are not acknowledged as such.

The boma is laid out in a very particular way.  As you enter, the first hut on the right hand side always belongs to the first wife.  The first hut on the left hand side belongs to the second wife.  The second hut on the right hand side is for the third wife, and if there’s a fourth wife she takes the second hut on the left hand side, and so on.  If the first wife is barren, the third wife keeps her first born but must give her second born to the first wife.  There can be no cross over between the left hand side and the right hand side – the first, third, fifth wives help each other, and the second, fourth, sixth wives help each other.

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