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Here by Glimpses Known

As I described in an earlier glimpse, our immediate neighbors to the right are three women whose homes huddle around a communal yard. This lady is Swafia. She is sitting with her back to Sakina's kitchen, her house is in the background, and the children in front of it are getting decked out for the feast to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Swafia is more commonly known to us as MaNaïm. I'm not sure I've talked about the naming system here as it concerns parents, so I'll enlighten you now. 

Whenever a couple has their first child, they are usually no longer known by their own first names. In the case of Swafia, her first child is Naïm, so the prefix "Ma" is added and she becomes MaNaïm. It was only yesterday (after 15 months of living next door to her) that we learned her first name is Swafia.  I have no idea who Naïm's father is or what his name is, but that doesn't matter much because now he would be known as BaNaïm. Shimaoré is a spoken language and it has no academy, unlike French, to decide on rules of spelling, etc., so one could also write Ma Naïm and Ba Naïm.  

(click to enlarge)

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
cathemery
Dec. 12th, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC)
Sounds like there could be a bit of social stigma attached to going by your own name later in life - no children, bad thing? And could add some stress to choosing your first child's name - hmm, do I want to be called by this name? Or this one?

Does your name change to the name of the second child if the first child dies for some reason?
mnfaure
Dec. 13th, 2007 08:04 am (UTC)
Having children is a primordial part of the culture here in Mayotte, and women who are barren are indeed looked down upon as being less than. That's why a large number of fertility treatments are free.

Does your name change to the name of the second child if the first child dies for some reason?

I'm not really sure about that, but I doubt it. If I think about it, I'll ask; however, it might not be easy to get an answer with the language barrier and all.
cathemery
Dec. 13th, 2007 03:38 pm (UTC)
It's ok - I don't want to make difficulties, just thought it was an interesting idea. :)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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