The Pow Tribe

November 24, 2009
Bawooh bawooh goes the sound of the conch. Each tribe member must scrutinize the sound. Is it a call for help, or the meal sound? If the members of the tribe didn’t learn the difference between the two calls, the conch would be ineffectual. My mother taught me and my younger sister so we would be prepared. Thankfully, it was (only) the meal alert. After lunch the tribe members went about their normal duties. Building huts, watching their children, and gathering food. My duty is a food gathering. I go out into the jungle and pick the bananas off their trees and the strawberries from their bushes. It is a lonely job, but a crucial one. My father was a food gatherer, and sometimes he would take me out. He showed me how to tell a ripe banana and an old strawberry. Without his help, I would be stuck in the house preparing the food. Nothing interesting happens there. Out in the jungle you need to be astute. Sometimes animals will come and try to eat our crops. You must know how to handle them. My grandmother use to be a village protector. She is an amicable woman, who treats people with respect, and loves her family. When she is up against a jaguar, her personality turns nefarious as she throws stabs at the defenseless animal. She gives me lessons on the weekends on how to protect myself and the important crops.

Bawohohoh Bawohoha goes the sound of the conch. This time it means an emergency. The members of the tribe run to the house of one of our elders where the noise originated. Franklin, our eldest member is lying in his bed dying. His malady forced him to quit his duties and stay right where he lay now. The doctor believes he has one day left, and solicits the tribes help in Franklins last day. “Stay with him, I beg you. He needs his family now,” the doctor says. The Pow tribe all crams into his small hut to wait until he passes. The next morning, the doctor calls his time of death and the tribe begins to prepare the ceremonial shipment out to sea. In the tribe we don’t have vexatious feelings toward another. During times like these we are thankfully to be here with one another. They contribute to who I am today, an amicable person who knows how to treat others kindly. I advocate telling the world to become close with people around you. They teach you life lessons you may never know the possessed themselves. Those who live in cities and fully inhabited areas don’t get the experience of being raised by an entire community. I am happy I grew up where I did and never want to leave. When I grow older and have children of my own, I hope to teach my children the lessons I learned and continue to learn.

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