Visit the mysterious “daughter country” of Africa

People have always been full of reveries about the daughter country in “Journey to the West”. In fact, there is also a mysterious “daughter country” in real life, named “Umoga”, which means unity, located in a remote area of ​​northeastern Kenya in Africa. Where women are supreme, men have been barred from entering for 30 years. Recently, this daughter country is still being hotly discussed on the Internet, and its birth and development are unexpected. In 2018, Du Siheng from Qingdao, Shandong Province came to Kenya to settle in Kenya with her husband due to work transfer, where she witnessed everything about her daughter’s country with her own eyes.

Establish a “daughter country”
Kenya is a patriarchal society, and the status of local women is low. However, there is actually a daughter country named “Umoga” hidden there.

In May 2018, my husband and I working in a foreign company, according to the company’s development requirements, went to a company in Kenya to find a job and settled here for a long time. After more than a year of adjustments, I fully adapted to the work and life there. In November 2019, Seita, a good friend I made in Kenya, asked me to travel. She asked me if I wanted to go, and I said without hesitation: “Of course I want to go to a unique place. I haven’t had fun when I came to Kenya.” Saiita raised her eyebrows and said, “Let’s go then.’ Daughter country!” “What kind of place is that?” I was so surprised that I kept asking about the daughter country all the way.

Seita shrugged: “There are some things that I don’t understand. However, I know the king of the daughter country. When the time comes, let her answer it for you personally!”

After coming to Umoga, the “daughter country”, Seita enthusiastically introduced King Rebecca to me. In Umoga, what I saw was not very different from other villages in Kenya, that is, the location was relatively remote, and the villagers were all women. Rebecca looks around 60 years old, with a lovely smile. After I said hello, I couldn’t wait to ask her: “As far as I know, Kenya belongs to a patriarchal society. Why are you allowed to establish a country of women here?” “The origin of Umoga is a long story. We ate and talked.” Rebecca eagerly invited us to sit down and eat local game barbecue.

It turns out that most women in Kenya have no status in the family, their bodies and souls are hurt by men, and the government has not stepped up to protect women. Rebecca was the first woman in the village to propose “gender equality”, but her remarks did not receive people’s support at that time. Everyone is accustomed to this unequal relationship, but thinks Rebecca is a different kind.

Since 1965, with the arrival of the British army, the situation of Kenyan women has become more and more unbearable. In Samburu County and other areas, more than 600 women were insulted and injured by British soldiers. Among them, the survivors were beaten and abandoned by their husbands “naturally” because they felt that their wives were no longer clean. Some women who are pregnant because of this will be recognized by people at a glance, and these innocent lives will also be insulted and excluded from the outside world.

The most chilling thing is that the British Ministry of Defense, which received serious accusations as early as 1977, finally came to the conclusion: “There is no reliable evidence to support any of the accusations.” The matter stopped.

Rebecca had a panoramic view of all this, unbearable, and angrily stood up to speak up for the injured woman. Her behavior is undoubtedly challenging the authority of men, and nearby neighbors united to beat Rebecca severely. This not only didn’t make Rebecca back down, but made her more soberly aware of men’s domineering and unreasonable. She secretly made up her mind: “Since I can’t change society, I’ll start anew and build a kingdom entirely belonging to women.”

Just do it. In 1990, Rebecca contacted 15 women who had survived the British army. With the help of the Kenyan Ministry of Social Services, they found a piece of land 6 hours’ drive from Nairobi and built one. “Daughter Country”. Rebecca named it “Umoga”, which means unity. She hopes that women living in the daughter country can unite, love and help each other. Umoga is completely ruled and managed by women, and Rebecca serves as the “king”. Here, they build houses out of branches and mud and live on their own.

“This is really an embarrassing and bloody story.” As soon as my voice fell, a woman walked in and whispered to Rebecca. The woman stayed to entertain us.

This woman is called Ntipayo, and I chatted with her along the birth of the daughter country. At this time, I learned that Nti Paio had also been injured by the British army. Speaking of that experience, she looked sad: “Most women were taken away while chopping wood and fetching water. That day, I went to collect firewood as usual, and three British soldiers took me away when they passed by. , And then pushed me down…” When she returned home with scars and told her husband what had happened, what she was waiting for was not caring, but a severe beating. After numerous cursing and beatings, Ntipayo finally left home unbearably.

“I have been in Umoga for 15 years. Life here is very good. There is no harm. Everyone cares for each other.” When talking about Umoga, Ntipayo finally had a warm smile on his face. She also suggested that I walk around in Umoga to learn more about the situation in my daughter country and the experiences of Kenyan women, and I will be surprised.

Unique regulations
Walking on the road, I found that the women in “Girl Kingdom” are very diligent, and everyone seems to be able to do crafts. I couldn’t help asking Seita: “Doing craftsmanship is their way to feed themselves?” “But it’s not the only way.” Seita replied with a smile.

In order to be able to feed all the people in the “daughter country”, Rebecca carried out a series of “business operations” on the village. First, the women sold their handmade bracelets and necklaces to tourists who traveled to the Samburu National Reserve along the way. Later, due to the growing popularity of “The Land of Daughters”, they collected tickets from tourists who came to visit to increase their income. With the development of the “Girl Kingdom”, they also built campsites for tourists to shop and rest. And these earned money will be pooled and distributed by Rebecca according to the size of the family. After the allocation, she deposited the remaining money for the construction of the daughter country, children’s education, and emergency needs.

I marveled at Rebecca’s courage and wisdom: “It’s really amazing that Rebecca can come up with and implement these operating models and unique regulations.”

At this moment, I saw a woman on the roadside selling hats with a picture of the country of daughters. I thought it was interesting, so I bought one. The woman has a bright smile and is very talkative, so I casually asked, “How long have you been in Umoga?” The woman grinned, “It’s been six or seven years, and this place is much better than the previous home.” I Wei Wei For a moment, she asked her if she would like to talk about her experience in detail. She smiled and nodded.

The woman’s name is Diana, who originally lived in Samburu District, Kenya, where patriarchy is supreme, polygamy is practiced, and children represent wealth. Therefore, even if poverty causes the infant mortality rate to be as high as 35%, once a woman does not have children, her status will be so humble that it is even worse than grass. In order to prove their worth, all women keep having children. The same is true for Diana, who gave birth to three children after marriage. But she never expected that she never escaped the beating and scolding of her husband during the breastfeeding period. Diana said: “The women there have suffered unprovoked domestic violence by their husbands for most of their lives. I have been silently enduring them until one day I heard about this place in Umoga, after being beaten again by a man in the family. , Just fled here.”

“You made a right choice.” I said to Diana. Diana nodded: “I just came here to understand that it’s good to be a mother without a husband.”

Seita told me that, in fact, there are only a handful of people who have the courage to escape like Diana. In Kenya, men are acquiesced in violence against women. According to the Kenyan Demographic and Health Survey, 57% of married women have been harmed by their husbands’ domestic violence, and 24% of them are still suffering from the harassment of their ex-husband’s domestic violence. In the first half of 2019 alone, local newspapers reported at least 60 cases of female deaths caused by domestic violence. What is disappointing is that many media reports on domestic violence tend to accuse women of not doing well, rather than criticizing the perpetrators.

Seita and I were walking and chatting, but the sky darkened without realizing it. Seita proposed to stay here for two days, and I readily agreed. The landlord is 36-year-old Mary, gentle and polite. After staying in, I checked a lot of information about Kenyan women on the Internet and found that besides domestic violence, many women have to abide by absurd and cruel customs-circumcision and child marriage. Circumcision is a genital mutilation operation performed on girls between 4 and 8 years old. However, this operation is extremely simple and rude. There is no disinfection and anesthesia during the whole process. The knives used are also blunt instruments found everywhere, which makes some women’s wounds unable to heal for life. Although these bad habits were abolished in 2011, they are still in use in many areas.

Most of the women who have completed the circumcision are arranged to marry a man three or four times their age, and use their marriage to exchange a few livestock for the family.

I was shocked. When I went to the living room to install hot water, I saw Mary who was doing handicrafts and couldn’t help asking her: “Mrs. Mary, have you heard of circumcision?” Mary was startled, her expression a little strange: “Of course, myself. Just experienced it.” It turned out that Mary not only had the experience of circumcision, but when she was 16 years old, her parents married her to an 80-year-old man for the purpose of being a cow. I exclaimed, “God, how do you live this?” Unexpectedly, Mary smiled proudly: “People can only live once, so I don’t want to give in.” She made a decisive decision and fled to her famous daughter on the eve of her wedding. country.

After the chatter box was opened, Mary also told me some unique regulations of the daughter country. The people of the daughter country formulated a publicity plan to resist circumcision and child marriage. Not only did they promote it internally, but also popularized science to women in the surrounding villages. Such bad practices as child marriage and circumcision are persecution of women, so that everyone understands that women have the right to be independent.

Regarding the pregnancy of minors, the daughter country has also formulated its own “laws”. Mary said solemnly: “Any minor who comes to Umoga for refuge, if they are pregnant, will be forcibly taken by others to have an abortion. This is also to protect the woman.” I nodded seriously.

When I wanted to stay in the country of my daughter for a few days to learn more about my country, the company’s leader called me to go back and deal with urgent matters. Seita said that there are many interesting and moving things in the daughter country, and we have agreed to come again next time.

Help a family
I came to the Land of Daughters again in February 2020. Due to the late departure, when Seita and I arrived, the sky was already dark.

From afar, I heard the voice of King Rebecca. She gathered under a tall tree with her people, and seemed to be discussing something fiercely. At this moment, I saw Mrs. Mary walking towards the tree. I hurried over to greet her, because I contacted her before I came and said that I wanted to live in her house. “What are they doing?” I asked Mrs. Mary. Mrs. Mary’s face suddenly showed a proud look, pointing to the big tree and saying: “That’s our’speech tree. The king encourages everyone to actively participate in the management and construction of the village. We will gather from time to time. Discuss and decide some matters under the speech tree.” Under the speech tree, everyone in the daughter country can express their own opinions and freely express their confusion and imagination about the future. In this process, they can eliminate the barriers between each other, open up and help each other, and become more united and energetic.

The next day, I was awakened by a loud noise. When I went out, I saw a woman holding two children crying and crying, surrounded by people. I saw Mrs. Mary in the crowd: “What happened? Has her child been bullied?” “Oh, our daughter country has a new member.” Mrs. Mary turned her head and said to me, “She is called Dai Qian, couldn’t stand her husband’s brutality, and fled here with her children.” I glanced at Daisy’s two children, one son and one daughter, about five or six years old. The daughter country has strict regulations. For a woman who flees here with her children, her daughter can stay for a long time, but when her son reaches 18 years old, he must leave the daughter country. And every child who grows up here must receive education, and the older villagers will also popularize them with science and educate them to refuse violence.

Daisy came to the daughter country as if she had found a home. Everyone calmed her emotions and let her and the children live in peace.

But just a few days after Daisy lived in, his husband ran to try to get his wife and children back. Daisy didn’t want to leave, so she yelled. At this time, I saw Rebecca with a large group of women, picking up “weapons” such as kitchen knives and iron rods, and running aggressively to guard Daisy and the child. “Get out of Umoga, men are not welcome here!” They forced Daisy’s husband back until they left “Daughter Country” angrily.

Mrs. Mary seemed to be surprised at this phenomenon, she whispered: “Because Umoga is already famous, as long as his wife runs away, men can guess that his wife is here, so men come here from time to time to try. Take back the wife who ran away.” When Daisy’s husband left in despair, he angrily put on a sentence: “You wait, I won’t let you go.” Rebecca sneered and didn’t look at him. Inside.

Unexpectedly, two days later, Daisy’s husband really brought some young men with weapons such as wooden sticks and shovels to provoke the “Nation of Daughters”. Unfortunately, they were beaten away by the women. I am amazed by the unity and cooperation of the people of the “daughters country”, as long as they work together, they can generate infinite power.

Seita and I were in a hearty mood to stop and go in “The Land of Daughters”, taking pictures, watching the scenery and the women’s work. Suddenly, I saw a man in the village, and he blurted out: “Seita, didn’t you say,’There are no men in the daughter country?” Saita laughed: “He is Lotukoy and Rui Beka asked to take care of the herd.” Normally, when the people of the daughter country are too busy, they hire men from nearby villages to help them with their physical work. Men need to get up early and go to Umoga to work for the “woman boss” of “Daughter Country”, and must leave immediately when it gets dark.

In addition, the “Her Land” does not exclude women from interacting with men outside the village, but men are forbidden to stay in the village for a long time, and they must follow monogamy and must not use violence against women.

Moving on, I discovered that they renovated and expanded the school. It turned out that with the gradual development of the village, their school has developed into a high-quality school that can provide academic, music and sports courses for 98 students. Recently, they also established a museum to collect and display many traditional cultural relics introducing Samburu.

Seeing more and more tourists gather in the “daughter country”, nearby villagers also wanted to copy their business model, but they all ended in frustration. Because the people of the “daughter country” trust and love each other and are a family that unites and assists each other, this relationship is difficult to replicate.

Until October 2020, Umoga has accepted more than 50 women and more than 200 children, ranging in age from 6 months to 98 years old, and has become a refuge for women who are well-known for being bullied. The sky of equality and fraternity.