Thursday, March 31, 2011

Qui-ana, Head of the Jabulani Tribe

The Jabulani are ruled over by five women, called the Becca. Today, I will be talking about their leader, History Teller Qui-ana. Yes, all of the five Becca have titles for the jobs that they have in the tribe. Qui-ana is the most important, because she is the person who records the history and is able to recite it. In a tribe where no one reads and writes, it is a very important position. There were many tribes in Africa where the language was not written down, and special people were appointed to keep the tribe's history in their heads.

When a History Teller gets old enough to start forgetting the history, she retires and a new one replaces her. Even though Qui-ana is the leader of the tribe right now, there is an older woman who used to have her job, and there are several young girls who are learning. Once Qui-ana gets too old or forgetful for her job, the tribe holds a contest, with the young women History Teller apprentices competing for the job. The Becca and the adults in the tribe listen to the history, as each apprentice recites it individually. They also look for someone with leadership qualities, because the History Teller is also the leader of the tribe.

Qui-ana's mother was not a History Teller, but as a girl, Qui-ana showed responsibility and levelheadedness at such an early age, that the Becca noticed her. She is a strong and caring leader, and takes it personally when the "Creator-Creature" came and trashed Jabulan on several occasions while she was the head of the tribe. If she has a weakness, it is Cat-ara. Somehow, Qui-ana never found a man that suited her to marry, and she regretted not having a child. When Cat-ara's mother disappeared and Cat-ara was left an orphan, Qui-ana was happy to take her in. The problem is that Qui-ana has a soft heart when it comes to children, and she let Cat-ara have her way, which made the girl become an annoying bully in the process.

Qui-ana is close to her younger sister, Artist Teacher Fayola. Their mother got ill and died when they were 12 and 10. Their father did the best he could for them, aided by women in the tribe, until he died from a heart attack when his daughters were barely in their 20's. The two sisters were always close and are usually found in each other's company.

Besides being the History Teller and the leader of the tribe, Qui-ana has her own garden which she tends, and she goes fishing in the river when she wants to add fish to her diet. As their leader, she is expected to work harder than anyone else in the tribe, which means providing her own food. The Jabulani eat vegetables,peas and beans, fruit, nuts, and various kinds of fish and shellfish. They harvest salt from the ocean and use it to cure some of the fish that they catch. In addition, they like to grow their own spices and herbs. Hot peppers are a favorite additon to many of their dishes. The Jabulani butcher a sheep for special occasions, and the meat is roasted before it is shared by the tribe.

Qui-ana helps to beat the flax fiber and process it until it becomes linen, and then she weaves it and makes her own clothing. Usually the husband does this, but since she is not married, she is expected to do it herself. At sixteen, Cat-ara is old enough to make clothing for them both, but she only makes items for herself, and Qui-ana does not scold her for her selfishness.

Qui-ana and the rest of the Jabulani tribe have a fluctuating relationship with the Bridges family. At first, they were suspicious of Raymond and the children, because the tribe thought that the Bridges were in league with the Creator-Creature. After Raymond changed the soil back to fertile ground and Joel and Celestine created the ducks, the tribe realized how the Bridges were trying to help. They also liked Valerie, whom they recognised as a fellow creative person. Of course, all that goes down the tubes when the Creators befriend the "Creator-Creature" and try to change the Jabulani's minds about him.

No matter what happens, Qui-ana will lead them through.

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