Wednesday, May 11, 2005

That Sounds Hard

There's a sad story in the New York Times today about African tribal traditions that require widows to have sex with a member of their dead husband's family (apparently this practice is contributing to HIV-infection rates).

Activists are trying to replace this tradition with something safer. But some of their proposals sound quite challenging:

Ms. Nsofu (an African nurse) said she suggested to tribal leaders that sexual cleansing most likely sprang not from fears about the vengeance of spirits, but from the lust of men who coveted their relatives' wives. She proposes substituting other rituals to protect against dead spirits, like chanting and jumping back and forth over the grave or over a cow.

Or a cow. Sure why not.