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The Boni Community in Kenya

The Awer people of Kenya live in Lamu and Ijara districts. They are called Boni, meaning people of a lower caste system, by the Somali neighbors. They are hunters and gatherers and live in the Boni and Dodori Forest Reserves. They are thought to be distinct relatives of the Oromo and the Watta who originally migrated from Ethiopia. The resident population in Kenya is about 2000 people. They are indigenous forest dwellers. Traditionally about 80% of their diet consisting of plant food, including berries, nuts, roots and melons gathered primarily by the women.

Communities of Kenya

The remaining 30% was meat, hunted by the men, using poisoned arrows and spears but nowadays they practice shifting cultivation (good for conservation) but to a small scale because the crops (maize, beans, peas, bananas, paw paws, cassava, mangoes, pumpkins, and cashew-nuts) are usually destroyed by wild animals like baboons, elephants and buffaloes. Their ties of kinship are fairly relaxed since their social structure is not tribal. Because they have no paramount leader they have a loosely knit family culture where decisions are made by universal discussion and agreement by consensus.

The roles of men and women are very distinct and rarely overlap which is universal with hunters and gathers in the whole world. It is based on survival needs, encouraging the most efficient utilization of available skills and resources. They are Muslims. Although there are group differences, a basic belief system exists where they believe in a mythical being, part trickster, part creator who is capable of great good but also of playing tricks on people. This creature is called Kaggen by some and Cagn by others. The shamans who go into trances and altered states of existence during ritual dances acquire access to the lesser god who cause illness.

Kenya is very rich and very dynamic. The communities are very diverse, and the Boni community are just one of the tribes of Kenya