There are tuxedos gowns and rings but it no wedding by jennyyingdi


                                                                   Y        IHT *11 Page ***Print No. 01                                                                                       IHT *11 Page   C

JoongAng Daily
Wednesday, March 28, 2007                                                                                      WORLD TOPIC                                                                                                                                             11

Visitors and                                                                                                                                                                          There are tuxedos,
locals profit
from glimpse                                                                                                                                                                          gowns and rings
into Tanzania                                                                                                                                                                         but it’s no wedding
MTO WA MBU, Tanzania — A group
of men sit on makeshift wooden                                                                                                                                                        WASHINGTON — It has all the trap-
benches outside the local pub in this                                                                                                                                                 pings of a wedding: the proud tuxedo-
northern Tanzanian village, chatting                                                                                                                                                  clad father, the frosted white cake, the
casually and sipping slowly from big                                                                                                                                                  limousines and an exchange of vows.
plastic cups.                                                                                                                                                                         But there is no groom and the girl in
    Nearby, a shirtless man prepares                                                                                                                                                  the gown is no bride. She’s daddy’s
their poison — banana beer — by stir-                                                                                                                                                 little girl, taking a vow of chastity.
ring a large, boiling pot of red goo.                                                                                                                                                      In what is becoming a trend
    Everywhere else, others are also                                                                                                                                                  among conservative Christians in the
going about their daily business: a                                                                                                                                                   United States, girls as young as nine
woman makes chapatti, a flatbread eat-                                                                                                                                                are pledging to their fathers to remain
en with stews, as children in ragged                                                                                                                                                  virgins until they wed, in elaborate
clothing run around.                                                                                                                                                                  ceremonies dubbed “purity balls.”
    It’s just another day in an African                                                                                                                                                    The gala affairs are intended to
village, but these residents are using                                                                                                                                                celebrate the father-daughter relation-
their culture to their benefit by invit-                                                                                                                                              ship.
ing foreign visitors to come see how                                                                                                                                                       The highlight is when the fathers
they live — for a small price, of course.                                                                                                                                             and daughters exchange vows, with
    By opening their doors to tourists,                                                                                                                                               dad signing a covenant to protect his
Tanzania’s villagers are taking advan-                                                                                                                                                daughter’s chastity by living an
tage of the hordes of visitors to their               Aftermath of Japanese quake — A man climbs up a collapsed house to check its damage following Sun-                              unblemished life and the daughter
region — which boasts Mount Kili-                     day’s earthquake in Wajima, Ishikawa prefecture, northern Japan, on Monday. A powerful quake tore into a rural                  promising not to have sex until mar-         Mike Parcha and his then 10-year-old
manjaro, Serengeti National Park and                  area of coastal central Japan on Sunday, killing one and injuring many as it toppled aging farmhouses and temples,              riage.                                       daughter Lora at her “purity ball” in
other majestic natural wonders — and                  set off landslides and caused a small tsunami.                                                               [AP]                    Many fathers at the ceremonies          Colorado Springs, Colorado.    [AFP]
investing the funds generated back                                                                                                                                                    also slip “purity rings” around the fin-
into the communities.                                                                                                                                                                 ger of their misty-eyed daughters or         Mr. Parcha’s oldest daughter Christy,
    And the experience, rather than                                                                                                                                                   offer them “chastity bracelets” and          who recently graduated from high
seeming fake or artificial, is fascinat-
    These inhabitants have become
                                                  Global warming and new technology                                                                                                   other jewelry that the girls can entrust
                                                                                                                                                                                      to their husbands on their wedding
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   school, is now working on a fictional
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   book about “the emotional purity of a
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   young girl as she grows up.”
used to the visitors and just go about
their day as they ordinarily would,
stopping only to say hello to the pass-
                                                  fuel race for riches in melting Arctic                                                                                                   “The father makes a pledge that he
                                                                                                                                                                                      is going to keep his mind pure and be
                                                                                                                                                                                      faithful to her mother and there is also
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       The first purity ball in the United
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   States was organized in 1998 by Gen-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   erations of Light, a popular Christian
ing tourists and not asking for money             HAMMERFEST, Norway — Barren                                                             toil ASA plans to start tapping gas         a time when there is a conversation          ministry based in Colorado Springs,
or pushing sales of crafts or trinkets.           and uninhabited, Hans Island is very                                                    from its offshore Snoehvit field in         about putting the right kinds of things      Colorado.
    Tourists can choose the level of              hard to find on a map.                                                                  December, the first in the Barents Sea.     in your mind, such as the father not             Randy Wilson, who runs the min-
interaction they want to have with the                Yet these days the Frisbee-shaped                                                   It uses advanced equipment on the           using pornography,” Leslee Unruh,            istry with his wife, said the idea was
10,000 residents who live around the              rock in the Arctic is much in demand                                                    ocean floor, remote-controlled from         founder of Abstinence Clearinghouse,         to create an event that celebrates the
area and their villages, which ranges             — so much so that Canada and Den-                                                       the Norwegian oil boom town of              a leader in the so-called purity move-       bonds between father and daughter.
from silent observer to full-on adopt-            mark have both staked their claim to                                                    Hammerfest through a 90-mile (145-          ment, told AFP in describing the                 “We saw that in our culture there
ed local.                                         it with flags and warships.                                                             kilometer) undersea cable.                  balls.                                       wasn’t a place for the father to work
    Abaraham Machenda, a guide                        The reason: an international race                                                        Alan Murray, an analyst with the            She said some 1,400 purity balls        for a good relationship with his
with a locally based tour group, takes            for oil, fish, diamonds and shipping                                                    energy consultants Wood Mackenzie,          were held across the United States in        daughter,” Pastor Wilson said. “So
visitors throughout Mto wa Mbu,                   routes, accelerated by the impact of                                                    said most petroleum companies are           2006, mainly in the South and Mid-           this [relationship] allows the daugh-
some 90 kilometers west of Arusha.                global warming on the earth’s frozen                                                    now focusing research and explo-            west, and double that number were            ter to become a stronger person in her
    He brings them up close to the                north.                                                                                  ration on the far north. Russia is          expected to take place this year.            culture as she is bombarded with all
bubbling pot of banana beer, shows                    The latest report by the United                                                     developing the vast Shkotman natural             Mike Parcha, who recently attend-       the sexual images that are out there.”
them the putrid-smelling room where               Nations Intergovernmental Panel on                                                      gas field off its Arctic coast, and Nor-    ed one of these balls with his 11-year-          Pastor Wilson, who has five
the goop is left to ferment and then              Climate Change says the ice cap is                                                      wegians hope their advanced technol-        old daughter Lora in the western state       daughters, said the balls have become
eagerly pours them a glass.                       warming faster than the rest of the                                                     ogy will find a place there.                of Colorado, said the events rein-           so popular over the years that there is
    Mixed with millet and an assort-              planet and ice is receding, partly due                                                       “Oil will bring a big geopolitical     forced his family’s Christian beliefs.       now a waiting list for those wishing
ment of other natural ingredients, this           to greenhouse gases. It’s a catastroph-                                                 focus. It is a driving force in the Arc-         “We realize that purity is a            to attend.
beer tastes somewhat sour, with the               ic scenario for the Arctic ecosystem,                                                   tic,” said Arvid Jensen, a consultant in    lifestyle, not an event, and this is just        Inquiries are also pouring in from
banana flavor evident only in the                 for polar bears and other wildlife, and                                                 Hammerfest who advises companies            a celebration of that lifestyle and of       abroad with organizations or church-
aftertaste.                                       for Inuit populations whose ancient                                                     that hope to hitch their economic wag-      that relationship that I have with my        es in New Zealand, Britain and other
    Guides like Mr. Machenda will                 cultures depend on frozen waters.                                                       ons to the northern rush.                   daughters,” he said. He said his three       countries asking for guidance on how
stop along the way and act as transla-                But some see a lucrative silver lin-                                                     It could open the North Pole           daughters have looked forward to             to organize such gatherings.
tors for those eager to find out more             ing of riches waiting to be snatched                                                    region to easy navigation for five          attending the balls and have no                  The popularity of the balls in the
about the lives of the locals.                    from the deep, and the prospect of                                                      months a year, according to the latest      qualms about pledging to remain vir-         United States, especially among evan-
    He takes tourists into private                timesaving sea lanes that could trans-                                                  Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, an        gins until marriage.                         gelical Christians, mirrors the Bush
homes — small mud shacks for the                  form the shipping industry the way                                                      intergovernmental group. That could              “They are just all for it, they think   administration’s support of absti-
most part — whose residents are                   the Suez Canal did in the 19th centu-                                                   cut sailing time from Germany to            it’s the greatest thing,” said Mr. Par-      nence education in U.S. schools. The
always willing to break bread with                ry.                                                                                     Alaska by 60 percent, going through         cha, 43, who is a college math teacher.      government’s funding for such initia-
visitors.                                             The U.S. Geological Survey esti-                                                    Russia’s Arctic instead of the Panama       “We raise our children as Christians,        tives has more than doubled in recent
    “The village is benefiting and peo-           mates the Arctic has as much as 25          Canadian Forces Northern Area troops        Canal.                                      we share the same beliefs and we’re          years to $206 million.
ple are seeing our environment. If I              percent of the world’s undiscovered         raise a flag on Hans Island, Nunavut, in         Or the Northwest Passage could         on the same page.                                But critics say that while teaching
was in Europe I know that I would                 oil and gas. Moscow reportedly sees         a July 13, 2005 file photo.       [AP]      open through the channels of Cana-               “It’s not like there is a tug of war    abstinence to children may be laud-
want to see the way people lived there            the potential of minerals in its slice of                                               da’s Arctic islands and shorten the         of any kind going on.”                       able, it is just as essential to make
too,” says a local woman who gave                 the Arctic sector approaching $2 tril-      priceless seas.                             voyage from Europe to East Asia. And             His two older daughters, aged 11        them aware of sexually transmitted
only the name Mama Pendo.                         lion.                                           Regardless of climate change, oil       that’s where Hans Island, at the            and 18, have attended the balls while        diseases and condom use. They also
    Artists sell their crafts along the               All this has pushed governments         and gas exploration in the Arctic is        entrance to the Northwest Passage,          the youngest, aged 4, must wait a few        say studies show that most adoles-
tour and visitors can pay extra to cycle          and businesses into a scramble for          moving full speed ahead. State-con-         starts to matter.                           years. The three girls, along with their     cents who take purity pledges break
or take a boat ride nearby.         (dpa)         sovereignty over these suddenly             trolled Norwegian oil company Sta-                                              (AP)    three brothers, are all home schooled.       them within a few years.          (AFP)

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