Marriage and the politics yams
The Trobrianders of Papaua New Guinea have set up quite an efficient society circulating around the harvest of the delicious yam. The Trobrianders highly anticipate a good thriving yam season because it can determine and establish many factors in their life. The labor is divided but all in all the yams bring unity to the Trobriander society. The factors that can determine future of any Trobriander are their sustainability and well being, wealth, marriages, sexuality and especially politics. All these determinants compose the life of the Trobriander and can affect them emotionally and physically throughout their lives.
Yam Gardens in the Trobriander society are highly prized possessions. The labor a man undergoes to grow the yams in the yam garden is an arduous task. However, the work a man puts out to grow a yam garden is simply not for himself but to benefit the household of his married sister and received as a gift. The reason for a man to give yams to a woman ultimately involves women’s wealth. The yams basically belong to the women. The new moon brings joy to harvesting but also brings a realization of the hard work they must endure. The Trobrianders practice an ancient technique called swidden cultivation and is much less labor intensive than hoe cultivation. Even though the labor intensive process of growing yams is primarily men’s work, couples soon come together when the gardens are ready to plant. The couples work intensively to keep up with their garden and their labor is done in unison, except for the most intense labor which is the building of the fence by the man to keep the wild pigs away from the yam garden. In the Trobrianders society, “The general garden, except for special occasions, supplies most of the daily food for the family throughout the year.” Throughout the year the yams power begins to evolve leading me to the next factor which is wealth....
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