Friday, March 25, 2011

The Masamba of Fahdamin-Ra

It is funny how my daughter, son, and husband each have a favorite tribe of Fahdamin-Ra. My son's favorite is the Jabulani, though he assures me that he does NOT want to wear a skirt like the Jabulani men. My daughter's favorite is the Masamba.

When Obasi created the Masamba, he took wood from the trees of the jungle and carved it into people, who he brought to life. The Masamba live in the trees, bury their dead at the roots of trees, and like to leave as secretly as possible in the midst of the jungle. They learn how to read and write as children, mostly so they can learn their history. They do not have very much use for names, so they have very short names themselves, with two or three letters.

The Masamba believe that men and women balance each other out, so they traditionally have a man and a woman who are married serve as chiefs of the tribe. There are hunters and gatherers who balance each other out to provide the tribe with food. In the second book, Across the Savannah the group is led by a female hunter who is the best tracker in the tribe. All hunters and some gatherers carry "spirit pouches" which are drawstring bags attached to their belts. The bags have little items that mean something to the person who carries them. Hunters sometimes go out in groups, but many times they go out alone, and they feel that if those items are with them, no harm will befall them. Gatherers typically go out in groups and do not get lost from each other, and there is safety in numbers.

Fahdamin-Ra did not originally have leopards. They were created and given to the Masamba by one of the first Creators, to assist them with hunting. The leopards are not considered pets, and are not given names. Joel named Harriet, but she was referred to by the tribe as "Tor's leopard." The Masamba do not call them cats. When a boy or girl is around 17 years of age and wants to be a hunter, they are allowed to select a cub. It is important that a male hunter is given a female cat, and vice versa for a female hunter, in order to keep the balance. Chi is approaching the right age to have a leopard cub, which he will need to train.

The Masamba move three times a year, but their primary home is in the jungle by the stone circle. They have houses there which are built in the trees. At their Dry Season Quarters, they live by a river, on platforms that are high in tall trees. During the Rainy Season, they move into trees that are up against a cliff. The trees look large, but they are actually a bunch of trees that were originally planted in a circle and have grown together.They live there for about two months. At the end of the wettest part of the rainy season, they return to the main quarters, where they live for 6 months, completing the 10 month Fahdamin year.

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