Poverty hinders locals from performing rituals for twins

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By JAMES OWICH

NWOYA. The practice of performing rituals to cleanse new born twins in Nwoya District is fading away due to poverty among communities.
Initially, a sheep would be slaughtered as part of the cleansing ritual. Among the Acholi, twins are regarded as a blessing from the gods and rituals are meant to take away any bad spell from the family.
But in Alero Sub-county, Nwoya District, the practice has gradually reduced and this has been attributed to the skyrocketing in prices of sheep and the high costs of living.

Items
Some of the items needed in carrying out the twin rituals include three chicken, one sheep, millet and peas commonly known as boo seeds.
Currently, local chicken goes for between Shs15,000 and Shs30,000, sheep costs between Shs80,000 and Shs150,000 in most rural parts of Nwoya District.
Ms Betty Ajok, 57, who has two sets of twins, says she is too poor to meet all the requirements for the ceremony.
“With the biting poverty and failure to harvest good yields from my garden, I have no hope of conducting such a ritual soon,” Ms Ojok explains.
Mr Nicholas Ojok,33, says he needs more than Shs80,000 to buy the required birds, sheep and brew the local beer to hold the ritual ceremony.
But Mzee Alfred Ongaya Acellam, an advisor to the Acholi cultural institution, insists that ritual ceremonies for twins are a must.
Mzee Ongaya alleges that unless rituals are performed, the twins and their parents will always suffer health related problems. He adds that under some circumstances, the parents may fail to have more children in future if rituals are ignored.
He cautions parents that such rituals are an important part of culture and cannot be ignored.

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