Women of the Forest

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Women of the Forest- By Yolanda Murphy

Last week I officially became a wife. My new husband lives in the men's house not far from me. He is a good man. He is older than me, but a good friend to my father and my mother approved. We had met many times before so I was not surprised when he approached my parents about marriage. They approved and the following night he brought his daily kill, a wild boar, to our house. The boar solidified our marriage. After our three day period of avoidance we finally saw each other again. I think I am going to enjoy life as a wife.

Today I found out I was pregnant. My husband had been coming over to see me at the women's house at night a lot since our period of avoidance ended so I'm not surprised. He would come get me from my house and we would go to the forest to have sex before retiring for the night. Although I am pregnant there is still much to do around our village and work must go on as usual.

I have been helping the other women in my house take care of their children so I am prepared for when my baby comes. One of the other women in my kin group has taken it upon herself to teach me the taboos to avoid while I am pregnant so my child will be born healthy and strong. On my daily trips to the Rio das Tropas to bath I keep my eyes down to avoid snakes and jaguars. It is believed that if I see these animals I will become sick and my child will die. At the river I bath quickly with the others and then leave so not to see any water animals, which if seen will cause my baby to not walk properly.

My husband has gone out hunting with the other men in his house for the sacrifice tonight. While he was out hunting I cut manioc for hours in the hot sun. The women of my house are making farinha for our village to eat tonight, so we must make sure we cut enough manioc for everyone. While the women of my house are harvesting manioc another women's house is gardening. Because the men do not always return...
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