Airdate: Sep 18, 1998
Scientist: Aneesa Kassam
GABRA- Rainy Season
As the deserts bloom in this part of Northern Kenya, the Gabra people are coming together for song and celebration.
This month, rain will begin to fall on a parched desert region along the border of Kenya and Ethiopia. For the people who live there, nomads known as the Gabra, this short rainy season is a time of celebration and togetherness. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History. We're listening to one of the Gabra's songs.
"The wet season is also one of plenty, when there is enough pasture for livestock and so enough milk for humans.
Aneesa Kassam is a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Durham, in England.
"Land is symbolically the mother, the source of food and creativity. When the rains come and transform the landscape, people are full of joy and hope and happiness. It is quite wonderful to see this transformation of the desert. It literally blooms. From the dry parched earth, tender blades of grass shoot up. It is truly a miracle."
This sense of abundance and the cycles of renewal are reflected in the Gabra's songs as they celebrate the season.
"For the Gabra, songs, like all words, come from the center of one's being and are a form of fertility. This inner fertility of the oral traditions resonates within the outer fertility of the environment. And it is through music that these two worlds, the inner world and the outer world merge and meet."
For transcripts of this and other programs in our series, please visit our website at www.pulseplanet.com.
Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.