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HOW WOMEN WHO PUT TO BIRTH ARE TREATED IN THE BATCHAM TRADITION

Batcham is a small village found in the West region, division of Bamboutos in Cameroon. It is a branch of the Bamileke tribe. The way women are treated when they put to birth in this tribe is amazing.

In the first place, she has to reduce her level of eating things about a month before she put to bed. If she just married and the pregnancy is the first born, she in most cases have to give birth to the child in her husband’s family house. There, she has to be well taken care of. Once she has put to birth, every day that follows is a party day. Relatives members of the family and her husband’s family are bound to be cooking every blessed day. Our new born baby should not lack milk in the name that his mother is not well feeded. On the table of the mother, there must be all the necessities to drink tea every morning, and bread suppliance every blessed day. The tea will help the mother fill the breast with milk to give the child permanently.

Once the mother is still in the hospital, everyone see it as a challenge to see who will be the first to bring hot water which will serve to clean the mother, the baby and his or her cloths and the one to take tea. This process is in most cases at 5am in the morning, so that at 6am, both the mother and the baby be ready to receive the visitors. When the mother is at home, she takes a bath at 5am and the baby is taken care of by anyone who is able to correctly bath a new born baby. Then the baby’s cloths are cleaned and dried, so that it can be dry at around 12am. It is necessary for it to be cleaned, ironed and kept earlier so that nothing can get to irritate it.

Once the woman is in the house, they have a traditional food known as fufu corn and Nkui. It is an essential food because, the fufu corn will enable the woman not to loose weight, especially for the babies who eat a lot, and the Nkui will permit her to swallow the food easily. Also, the woman needs to taste all the food which are brought to her. No matter how many they are, she has to taste them all. That is the routine until the girl leave for her husband’s house usually after a period of not more than 4 months. That is an overview of how women who put to birth are taken care of in this tribe.

 

Principles of the knock door in the Batcham village.

Batcham is a small village in the bamileke tribe. It is found in the west region, Bamboutos division, Mbouda sub division. It is a village amongst the villages found there. The principle of their knock door is not that strong to understand.

Before the knock door is arranged the husband to be has to come to the girls family so as to know them and confirm that he is ready to take the girl in marriage. Then the girl on her own part is supposed to be the one to pound achu with which she is to receive her husband to be. And when the fiance arrive, she receive him and make the presentation to the family. Then when the presentations are made, the floor is given for discussions. The two families discuss and take decisions on what the man’s family is surpose to bring to the girl’s family. Then they conclude and food is served. Everybody eats and the party goes on. This is usually done few days before the knock door. The aim is for the girl to show the husband she can cook and the husband to know what is awaiting him as expenses.

After the aboveday, a day is fixed for the knock door to be effective. That day, while there are cooking in the girl’s place, there are doing same in the man’s place. This is in case there are from the same village. If they are not from the same village, there will receive the mab in the girl’s home first and he will receive the girl and the family on another day. Many traditional and modern food are cooked but Achu and condrais (cooked plantain mixed with porc meat) as it is commonly called must be there. When everything is set the groom’s family comes and are received by the bride’s father. The men sit with men and women with women in the beginning so as to discuss personal issues. And when the fiance family is around, the girl has no right to be seen around. She stays in the room and take all that time to prepare herself. 

After the above, the two families perform tradition like giving money usually not more than 400 thousand franc CFA. And the articles brought by them are given tp the girls family. After all this they all eat and drink and the ceremonials start. All the young girls present sing and dance as their sister is getting married. Then there make the practice of discovering the wife. According to the tradition, you should be able to recognize your wife Even in darkness so, a big blanket is used and all the young girls are covered with, including the wife to be. Then they come in dancing and the husband to be is bound to chose his wife. If he does not chose the wife but a different person, he has to pay for it to the girl. When she has been chosen, they can spend the evening hand in hand until when they are leaving. If there are to send the wife to be to the husband house that night, she change her dress. And all the young girls carry the necessary elements to go there and they are received in the husband to be house. Then they all eat, drink and dance. While the bride’s family leaves, she is left behind with the husband.

About foufou corn and nkui.

Foufou corn and nkui are the traditional food of people from batcham, a village found in the division of Bamboutos, West region in Cameroon. It is a very important food to the people because it is in most cases cooked after a woman has put to birth. It is a privilege for Some one to cook nkui for a woman who just put to birth. The people have a strong believe that after putting to birth, the woman needs a maximum food that can help her maintain her weight and not be short of breast milk.

To cookfou fou fou corn, you take maize which is well dried and grain it. After graining it, you go to the grinding machine and grind it. Then you cieve it with a cieve. This is to remove the ones which have not been well grind to cook it first inside warm water for about 30min. And add some warm water to it for it to be watery and then put the other part of the cieved grind maize.then you continue to turn while adding water until it is soft enough to be eaten. Then you put it on the floor and tie it while its still warm. At first, it was tied in plastic paper but now it is tied in banana leaves, which gives it more taste and is not dangerous for the body system.

In line with the above, nkui is a sterm which is green with some brown particles on it in colour and does bit always extend a certain amount of cm. After it i s cut from the farm, it is wash and pealed. Then you warm water and save it in a clean port. You take a small basin and put the nkui pealings inside and add some hot water. Then leave it for 5min and start squeezing. When its glittery, you remove the pealings and pour the glittery liquid in a pot. The more you squeez the more you add water. And you continue the process. After squeezing all the glittery liquid from it, you close the pot and start arranging the spices. All of them are grind on the grinding stone. Then you put abit of diluted calcium carbonate usually known as (nkanwa). Because when you squeez the nkui it is white in colour and you then put nkanwa for it to have a brown colour. Then you make sure you measure well the quantity of salt because you mix it with the spices before putting it. Maggi is put into it by will. Then you beat it carefully till complete nixture, then add the spices and continue beating it. After complete mixture, your nkui is ready to eat.

Fou fou corn and nkui can also be accompanied with abit of fried vegetable to boost the taste of the food.

Principles of a knock door in the beti tradition.

Beti people are from two areas. The south and centre regions of Cameroon. But are basically found in the south. They are characterised as people who are very seductive but do not eat in one plate theougout their life.

They surely have beautiful girls but the girls are considered as a gold you need to go and get from a volcano area. The following are some of the materials which are to be furnished during a knock door for a beti woman.

Firstly, the husband to be family has to head for the village of the girl with some members. While coming? They have to take along. Not less than four bags of rice, gallons of red oil, soap, about five pigs of 300kilos and many other minor materials. When the girl have brothers, the husband have to give them each the amount of money they ask before he step into the house. So giving the  girl’s brothers what they ask is his passport to enter his in-law family house. Then, all the required materials are displayed on the courtyard. While discausions and other activities are going on? The man’s family has to be vigilant on what they brought. Since in the beti village they have what they call theft during knock door. So, if one of the girl’s family rake away an article without the notice of the man, he have yo buy another one to replace. After this, the articles are taken inside and the session of choosing the wife starts. Here, the man have to prepare his pocket since, a crowd of girls came covered with a blanket while dancing. And the husband needs to chose his wife among. If she comes out not to be the one? He have to pay a fine. By this? They believe the man have to recognize his wife even on darkness. After he have finally chosen the right one, they continue feasting till when the husband and wife leave. She can now be recognized as his wife.