I read, this morning, about a village in the Sambura region of Kenya that is inhabited only by women and children. Umoja women escape to the village to avoid the injustices of a strictly patriarchal society. Female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and polygamy are pervasive in the Sambura culture. Girls are married off as second and third wives. Children as young as 9 and 10 are pregnant.
Umoja women place a strong emphasis on education. Within the Sambura culture, illiteracy runs at 76%, mostly among females. Girls with education are viewed as role models.
The women finance the village both through making beaded necklaces and tourism, providing shelter to people going on nearby safaris. The monies are brought to the village matriarch, who disperses income to villagers based on the number of children in each family.
Villagers run in age from 98 to six months. When a male child reaches age eighteen, he has to move out. Sambura critics say the women are radical and anti- men even as they say men visit women at night.
I’ve often thought that living in a community of women would be a wonderful experience. There is a freedom not to be found in a patriarchy. Certain mores don’t exist. There is a tactic understanding that defies interpretation. My friends and I used to talk about living next to each other in a supportive, interactive, loving setting. I would love the experience of spending appreciable time in such a community.