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Spirit attack brings windfall for village blacksmiths

By | May 10th 2010 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Nicholas Anyuor

Kendu Bay town’s blacksmiths are a happy lot after an invasion of spirits brought their way more damaged sufurias and tin plates than they can mend.

This came about after an alleged visit to the town by spirits of long dead people commonly known as nyawawa.

There is a belief amongst the Luo that when the nyawawa visit a place, they can only be expelled by beating objects like drums, sufurias and plates.

It is believed that the nyawawa usually come at night and are the spirits of dead villagers. They come shouting at the top of their voices

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calling out the names of villagers, and also talk among themselves.

In most cases they come during funerals and sing dirges and whistle but no one can see them.

Their arrival is marked by a light from the direction of their voices and a chilly wind.

Presented problems

It is believed that when they visit a place and are not chased away, people in the area will be struck down by dangerous diseases.

So when the nyawawa showed up at this small town in Rachuonyo North District at around 9pm last week, there was a cacophony as villagers frantically tried to fend them off.

Men, being the protectors in the community, were expected to shield their families from harm. This proved to be a challenge because no drums, sufurias or plates were readily at hand.

But getting the utensils presented problems because women did not want their husbands damaging theirs. "Men should have drums in the house and if they do not, they should buy utensils for this purpose. Nyawawa are after all common nowadays," Judith, a mother of seven told her husband.

Beat utensils

But since the situation was so serious, the husbands took the sufurias and plates by force and ordered other people in the house to arm themselves with spoons or sticks to beat them with.

At night they all went to the main road to chase away the ghosts. Men and children beat utensils with till their bottoms were torn — but they were blessed with success.

The nyawawa disappeared wailing, "Wewa uru wadhi, okwachk waduogi." (Let us go, we won’t come back.) Everyone went back to their houses.

The children wanted to know more about nyawawa while the women worried about their damaged utensils.

After breaking the utensils, men dropped them on the road and quarrels broke out between them and their wives.

Many utensild broke they had to see the local tinsmiths.


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