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A boy must herd cattle for 7 days before circumcision. Then, before dawn on the 8th day, he is circumsized by a village elder, using no medication or numbing agents. The other boys shout songs of encouragement and threats (to make sure the boy does not run away and to cover any soudns of pain). It is a painful process, but a significant one. Afterwards, the boy receives gifts of cattle and is respected for his bravery. Regrettably, girls sometimes undergo a similar operation.

Maasai boma, Tanzania; Oct 29, 2004
© 2004 susan & grace