Cultural Background

After childbirth the mother is not allowed to drink water for two months, only taking soup, porridge, tea and meat. The child is put to suck the tongue of an elder for blessings. A very young goat is slaughtered and the blood poured into a hole in front of the house covered by a big stone to show openly a child has been born, nobody is allowed to sit on that rock symbolizing the newborn’s head. The placenta is buried in the camel enclosure the following night by uncircumcised girls.

Circumcision is done only once every 12 years when the new age group of morans is being initiated. First they are being given punishment which includes a 600km walk to collect a special gum (Nangure) from a tree which is only found in certain areas. Then they are all shaved their hair leaving one small part. A month later they are sent 300km to bring bow and arrow, and yet another month later some special water 8km away. On the morning of circumcision they wash their heads with that water mixed with milk the evening before. The procedure takes place at their homes inside the herds of lifestock. The following month they only eat milk mixed with blood and meat, without showering or drinking water. Then they go to the bush to slaughter and eat goats/camels/cows thus graduating to be real moran. On that occasion they paint themselves with red oak and are given knives and other traditional moran wear. From this stage they stop eating at their mothers’ house, until the next batch of morans is initiated and they graduate being wazees.

Before marriage a payment of three blankets, three kikois and 3000ksh needs to be taken to the family of the girl. Around dawn on the wedding day the girl is being circumcised in the manyatta while morans encourage her with singing. Later in the morning dowry consisting of cows and camels is delivered to the parents’ manyatta. Then one bull is slaughtered which is the main marriage act. If failing to do so no claims can be made. The husband wears traditional clothes made from animal skins and puts red oak. In the evening morans sing and dance. Husband and wife are only allowed to eat together at home after hosting a separate food occasion. A new manyatta has been built to be moved into from that day. Depending on the girl’s age, she might move in there by herself accompanied by the mother first. They will move to the husband’s home taking that manyatta with them. The husband has to walk barefooted for an even number of days and can only leave the girl’s home after a period of even days.

Pre-arranged child marriages
In certain clans young girls are being married off by their parents, themselves not having seen their husband-to-be before the day of the wedding. After the wedding the girl moves into a newly constructed manyatta, now the husband rather then the father being the one who financially supports and has authority over her, even though not staying together with her yet. When he desires, he is allowed to take his girl to his home at his convenience. However, only when the age group of his current moran generation moves on to be wazees, they are allowed to start eating together.

Way of Life
They are sub-devided into clan which is equivalent to the surname. Rendille people live in manyattas made of sticks covered with cardboard/pieces of clothes. They stay as pastoralists with big herds of lifestock which they take to graze at places called fora where more pasture can be found for the animals, as the area is very dry. During dry season most even migrate to faraway places in search for water and pasture staying in the bush.
The man is always the head of the family. If he dies, the responsibility will be taken over by the first-born son. In mid-march there ia a specific day when all camels and first-borns come home, and goats are slaughtered at each house and blood being put on the doors. 
Rendille also have some interesting beliefs including that you should not remain to relax in the shade of a house when the sun has gone etc.
Volunteer Role