Visiting Karamoja appealed to us because of the power of it's people and as such we couldn't leave without spending some quality time with Kara-Tunga, the people of Karamoja. At around 3PM we left the guesthouse by car and headed towards a village called Kautakou. When we arrived, our guides Peter and Shongz guided us around a homestead, explaining where people lived and how houses were used to store grain, cattle and relax. Next we proceeded to something that resembled a square where we were greeted with a traditional youth dance. Soon after we were pulled into the celebration, struggling to keep up with the quickly changing dance moves and shifting rhythms. It was our first time to see how the dancing and jumping we had heard so much about strengthened the community and brought pride and joy to all ages of the village.
After the sun dipped under the horizon, we proceeded to a different part of the village to properly introduce ourselves to the community. Our guide Peter translated the words of an elder, who welcomed us to the community and wished to learn more about us. One by one we introduced ourselves, informing dozens of curious eyes who we were, where we were from and how thankful we were to be able to visit the village and learn about their culture.
As the locally brewed beer started to flow, everyone got a lot looser and we started talking as freely as possible through a translator. Soon the ladies were asking us how many children we had and the men were laughing at the fact that we werent married. Single girls asked us if it was true that in the west women have to pay the man's family dowry to get married.
We talked for hours, laughing about the differences in our cultures, shocked by the Karamajong's importance of reproduction (one guy in a nearby village had 34 children) and humbled by the fact that a world so very far from ours lay untouched by the temptation and materialism we were used to.
Visiting the village put so much into perspective for us, on Mount Moroto we were intrigued by the harsh conditions the Karamojongs lived in, surviving on ample water without access to medical services or education. That night however, our eyes were opened to the real Karamojong mindset, in which cattle is everything. The beauty in how these long misunderstood communities draw their energy, respect and social value from the cow truly rattles at the cage of your own values.