Tradition: Lost and Kept
Each culture in the world follows its own customs and traditions. These traditions, however, are sometimes broken to allow a compromise in their society, or are still kept throughout the culture's existence. In the story The Rain Came, an African tribe faces a harsh and desolate time because their tribe is experiencing a severe drought and as a result the livestock is dying from dehydration, the crops are drying out, and the tribe's Chief is called upon to remedy the situation. Following their tribe's tradition on asking the gods for assistance, the Chief discovered the only way to eliminate the drought is by sacrificing his daughter in a traditional ritual. The events that follow will show how the tribe's customs will be kept and lost.
Tradition is shown in many parts of the story. The first example of tradition is evident in the scene where the Chief speaks to the ancestors to change the sacrifice; he loves his only daughter dearly and does not wish her to die. Unfortunately, he could not abandon his position as Chief and let the people die from the drought either. In the tribe, it was customary for the Chief to have several wives and children. The Chief married five wives and the fifth one brought him a daughter. Another tradition that was shown in the story was the explanation of how Oganda (the chief's only daughter) received her name. Her name meant "beans" because her skin was smooth, very much like the skins of beans. A last example of tradition is the sacrificing of Oganda. She is scheduled to be sacrificed to a lake monster in order for the tribal villages to receive precipitation and water. In modern days, we would check the local satellite forecast for the area and determine when to conserve water during a drought. However, in this story, tradition must be followed to allow the people to live and thrive, or does it?
Revealing the parts of the story where tradition is kept is important in order to compare with the part where tradition is lost and compromised. The Chief keeps tradition when he arranges a meeting with all the family members except Oganda to discuss her sacrifice to better the chances of survival for everyone else. Oganda believes that her family is discussing her marriage and her morale and hopes increase until her family informs her of the situation. To the villagers, it was a great honor to let a woman's daughter to die for her country. To the Chief, it was a great and sad loss for his only daughter would be digested in the bowels of the great lake monster. Another pertinent example of how traditions are kept is how Oganda walks the path to her designated sacrificial area, the lake. Oganda had the choice of running away and hiding the rest of her life, but she believed strongly in her tradition and followed the path her ancestors chose. At that moment, she was a dead person walking.
The section of the story, which involved the tribal traditions being lost and compromised, is the most interesting part. During the scene where Oganda thought her family gathered to discuss her marriage, she began thinking of all the possible suitors. The only person she believed that might become a good husband was Osinda (who originated from another tribe and he gave her a gift several years back). However, in the last section of the story, Oganda walks towards the sacred body of water and just before she reached the watery shores of the lake, a person in camouflage forces her upon the ground and speaks of a way to escape the fate her ancestors chose. He explained that he was Osinda and that the coat of bwombwe will seclude her from the prying eyes of her ancestors and the wrath of the monsters. She agreed to the plan and both sprinted far away from the sacred land and avoiding the path of the ancestors. That evening, rain poured out of the sky gallons by gallons, yet Oganda had not been sacrificed according to tradition. This was a great example of how the tribal traditions were completely lost and compromised by Osinda and Oganda.
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