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Pictures | Wed Dec 10, 2014 | 11:55am EST

Rites of womanhood

A man holds a girl as she tries to escape when she realized she is to to be married, about 80 km (50 miles) from the town of Marigat in Baringo County, Kenya December 7, 2014. As Pokot tradition dictates, the future husband arrived to her family home with a group of men to collect the girl. The men arrived with the last settled dowry of livestock for the girl's family. In this case it was 20 goats, three camels and 10 cows, given during a period of several weeks. The remaining 10 cows were to be given the morning the girl was taken to her new home by her husband and the rest of the men. The girl was unaware of the marriage arrangements that her father had made. The family said that if they had told her in advance she might have run away from home.

A man holds a girl as she tries to escape when she realized she is to to be married, about 80 km (50 miles) from the town of Marigat in Baringo County, Kenya December 7, 2014. As Pokot tradition dictates, the future husband arrived to her family home...more

A man holds a girl as she tries to escape when she realized she is to to be married, about 80 km (50 miles) from the town of Marigat in Baringo County, Kenya December 7, 2014. As Pokot tradition dictates, the future husband arrived to her family home with a group of men to collect the girl. The men arrived with the last settled dowry of livestock for the girl's family. In this case it was 20 goats, three camels and 10 cows, given during a period of several weeks. The remaining 10 cows were to be given the morning the girl was taken to her new home by her husband and the rest of the men. The girl was unaware of the marriage arrangements that her father had made. The family said that if they had told her in advance she might have run away from home.
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A man holds onto a girl as he brings her back to her family home after she tried to escape when she realized she is to be married. In the Pokot tradition, parents give their daughters as wives usually at the beginning of their adolescence. The Pokots have developed social structure and practices that aim to optimize the chance of survival of each household in an often difficult and hostile environment. The girls are ready for marriage after an initiation ceremony marking their passing over into womanhood.

A man holds onto a girl as he brings her back to her family home after she tried to escape when she realized she is to be married. In the Pokot tradition, parents give their daughters as wives usually at the beginning of their adolescence. The Pokots...more

A man holds onto a girl as he brings her back to her family home after she tried to escape when she realized she is to be married. In the Pokot tradition, parents give their daughters as wives usually at the beginning of their adolescence. The Pokots have developed social structure and practices that aim to optimize the chance of survival of each household in an often difficult and hostile environment. The girls are ready for marriage after an initiation ceremony marking their passing over into womanhood.
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Pokot men stand near the home of a girl to be taken as wife for a member of their group.

Pokot men stand near the home of a girl to be taken as wife for a member of their group.

Pokot men stand near the home of a girl to be taken as wife for a member of their group.
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Pokot men and women hold a girl before she is taken away by a group of men to be married to a member of their community after the group came to take her from her family home.

Pokot men and women hold a girl before she is taken away by a group of men to be married to a member of their community after the group came to take her from her family home.

Pokot men and women hold a girl before she is taken away by a group of men to be married to a member of their community after the group came to take her from her family home.
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A man grabs a girl to bring her back to her family home after she tried to escape when she realized she is to be married.

A man grabs a girl to bring her back to her family home after she tried to escape when she realized she is to be married.

A man grabs a girl to bring her back to her family home after she tried to escape when she realized she is to be married.
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A man inspects the last settled dowry of several cows received for his daughter's hand in an arranged marriage. In this case it was 20 goats, three camels and 10 cows, given during a period of several weeks.

A man inspects the last settled dowry of several cows received for his daughter's hand in an arranged marriage. In this case it was 20 goats, three camels and 10 cows, given during a period of several weeks.

A man inspects the last settled dowry of several cows received for his daughter's hand in an arranged marriage. In this case it was 20 goats, three camels and 10 cows, given during a period of several weeks.
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Pokot girls wearing beads and with their faces painted, walk towards a secluded place slightly more than a week prior to an initiation ceremony marking their passing over into womanhood. They are part of a group of over a hundred girls that will take part in the initiation ceremony lasting one night and through the next day. Before the ceremony, as Pokot tradition dictates, the girls are secluded for over a month, out of sight of the men in the community. The ceremony will mark the girls coming to age and they will be able to be married. For most, their marriages have already been arranged.

Pokot girls wearing beads and with their faces painted, walk towards a secluded place slightly more than a week prior to an initiation ceremony marking their passing over into womanhood. They are part of a group of over a hundred girls that will take...more

Pokot girls wearing beads and with their faces painted, walk towards a secluded place slightly more than a week prior to an initiation ceremony marking their passing over into womanhood. They are part of a group of over a hundred girls that will take part in the initiation ceremony lasting one night and through the next day. Before the ceremony, as Pokot tradition dictates, the girls are secluded for over a month, out of sight of the men in the community. The ceremony will mark the girls coming to age and they will be able to be married. For most, their marriages have already been arranged.
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A Pokot girl gets her braids done by her friends prior to an initiation ceremony marking her passing over into womanhood.

A Pokot girl gets her braids done by her friends prior to an initiation ceremony marking her passing over into womanhood.

A Pokot girl gets her braids done by her friends prior to an initiation ceremony marking her passing over into womanhood.
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Pokot girls wearing beads and animal skins sit in a secluded hut one week prior to an initiation ceremony marking their passing over into womanhood.

Pokot girls wearing beads and animal skins sit in a secluded hut one week prior to an initiation ceremony marking their passing over into womanhood.

Pokot girls wearing beads and animal skins sit in a secluded hut one week prior to an initiation ceremony marking their passing over into womanhood.
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Pokot girls attired with traditional jewellery stand in a circle during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.

Pokot girls attired with traditional jewellery stand in a circle during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.

Pokot girls attired with traditional jewellery stand in a circle during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.
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Pokot girls punch a young bull as part of an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood. Each of the girls taking part of the initiation will punch the young bull until the animal is exhausted and then the men of the community will kill the animal from a blow to the head and a spear thrust to the heart.

Pokot girls punch a young bull as part of an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood. Each of the girls taking part of the initiation will punch the young bull until the animal is exhausted and then the men of the...more

Pokot girls punch a young bull as part of an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood. Each of the girls taking part of the initiation will punch the young bull until the animal is exhausted and then the men of the community will kill the animal from a blow to the head and a spear thrust to the heart.
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Pokot men grab a bull for an elder of the community to bless during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.

Pokot men grab a bull for an elder of the community to bless during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.

Pokot men grab a bull for an elder of the community to bless during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.
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Pokot girls hit a young bull as part of an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.

Pokot girls hit a young bull as part of an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.

Pokot girls hit a young bull as part of an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.
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A young bull lies dead on the ground after having been killed by a blow to the head and a spear thrust to the heart during a Pokot initiation of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.

A young bull lies dead on the ground after having been killed by a blow to the head and a spear thrust to the heart during a Pokot initiation of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.

A young bull lies dead on the ground after having been killed by a blow to the head and a spear thrust to the heart during a Pokot initiation of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.
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Pokot girls and boys dance together during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood. During the ceremony the girls will sing and stay standing from the afternoon through out the night and the morning after. At the end of the ceremony, the girls and the boys of the community dance together, supervised by elders.

Pokot girls and boys dance together during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood. During the ceremony the girls will sing and stay standing from the afternoon through out the night and the morning after. At the...more

Pokot girls and boys dance together during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood. During the ceremony the girls will sing and stay standing from the afternoon through out the night and the morning after. At the end of the ceremony, the girls and the boys of the community dance together, supervised by elders.
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A Pokot man holds a lamb as he blesses over a hundred girls during an initiation ceremony marking the girls' passing over into womanhood.

A Pokot man holds a lamb as he blesses over a hundred girls during an initiation ceremony marking the girls' passing over into womanhood.

A Pokot man holds a lamb as he blesses over a hundred girls during an initiation ceremony marking the girls' passing over into womanhood.
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Pokot girls walk in line during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.

Pokot girls walk in line during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.

Pokot girls walk in line during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.
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Pokot girls and adults stand in a circle during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.

Pokot girls and adults stand in a circle during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.

Pokot girls and adults stand in a circle during an initiation ceremony of over a hundred girls passing over into womanhood.
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