Baggara - Settlements



Pastoral Baggara live in camping units called furgan (sing. fariq ). Residents in a camp typically belong to one or more patrilines of a lineage. Houses are arranged on the perimeter of a circle. Cattle are brought into the center of the camp at night, to mill loosely about, near the household of their owners. Adult, married women own the houses and their housekeeping contents. Dry-season houses are generally larger than rainy-season houses—3.6 to 4.5 meters in diameter, as compared to 3 meters in diameter, and 3 meters in center height, as compared to 1.8 to 2.4 meters. Houses are spherical, built by placing saplings in holes around the perimeter, then bending them over and tying them to form a dome. Smaller branches, tied onto the frame horizontally, support the structure, which is then covered with thatch in the dry season or with mats and tarpaulins in the rainy season. A bed for a woman and her young children is built first, and the house frame is then built around it. Men and older boys sleep on cots in the center of the camp, near the cattle. Another important component of a camp is the men's tree—or a sun shelter constructed instead—where men gather to eat, talk, or nap and to receive male visitors. The men's tree is usually in the center of the camp or just outside the camp circle. Sedentary Baggara live in agricultural settlements or towns, often in compounds grouped according to lineages. The houses of the settled Baggara are built of mud brick and have thatched roofs, which is typical of other sedentary Sudanese. Corrals are built of thorny trees and shrubs to contain young animals. No fences are built around the camp itself or the houses in the dry-season camps, which are located in the people s home territory, or dar, but fences are built around houses in the rainy-season camps.


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