Luo Culture believes that failure to remember or respect the spirits may have adverse effects in their community (Sinaiko, 1995). It is worth noting that they refer to spirits as jouk which means “shadow” and they refer to God as Nyasaye which translates as “he who is begged” and also Were which translates as “certain to grant requests” (Sinaiko, 1995). Ancestral worship plays a predominant role in their traditional religion. Ancestral spirits are believed to be actively involved in the world. This strong belief is very evident in the belief system of many Luos (Sinaiko, 1995).
Health Care Practices It is unfortunate to remark that Luo culture does not have elements that can promote community health. In other words, it is not a culture that motivates the Luo people to maintain healthy standards. Most of the beliefs and practices are geared towards appeasing the ancestors and thus forget the well being of the entire community at present. This is why this culture cannot be regarded as a past or present oriented culture because many of its emphases lay on their destiny (Isak, 1972). Even in matters regarding health, they call upon their ancestors to intervene.
It is also important to note that they believe that being healthy is a favor from their forefathers and being unhealthy is a curse from the same forefathers. It becomes complicated to guide them through a causal health understanding of their diseases. Inasmuch as healthcare practitioners would want to address the why of their health issues the big challenge would be to convince them out of their traditionally held beliefs. The elders who serve as traditional doctors are revered by this community and they rely on their guidance in curing certain diseases (Southall, 1952).
However, with the HIV endemic that has swept away many families leaving most children orphans, has led Luo culture to seek other better ways to deal with their health issues. Obviously, given that HIV/Aids has no cure they started realizing that traditional practices cannot address the problem (IPAR, 2004). Although their folklore practices do not directly address health issues, they got some moral stories that can be useful in giving care to the sick. For instance, among the commonly told story is refereed to as “Opondo’s Children” which talks of a man who gave birth to monitor lizards instead of human babies (Mboya, 1986).
With time, the parents decided to throw them away due to their inhuman conditions. One day, they decided to retain one of their babies who at the age of adolescence loved to bathe in the riverside. In the process of swimming the child turned into a fully functioning human being. Passers by noticed and ran back to the village with this news which pleased the community members. The child was accepted in the community and received a lot of love and support. From this story, Luo culture believes that they have a duty towards the sick especially the physically handicapped (Mboya, 1986).
This section discusses some of the findings established during the interview process. The participant is a Kenyan citizen and from a Luo culture. The impressive thing in this study is that much of the ideas established in the literature review were re-affirmed during the entire interview process. However, the interviewee was assertive that Luo culture has changed tremendously and that Luo people are becoming more scientific in their thinking. Communication According to the interviewee, communication in Luo culture just requires respect and clarity.
In general, young ones should not scold their parents and the same case applies to husbands in respect to their wives. However, this study leant that Luo culture prohibits pointing another person using an index finger; to them it means fate to the pointed person. He confirmed that Luo culture has become an interactive one where people can share their feelings with one another. It had been mentioned that men could not interact with women or children could not interact with their elders, today things have changed. The format for giving names is still evident where children are given names according to seasons, events or calamities.
Nutrition This study learnt that Luo culture will never have other preferred staple foods apart from fish and ugali. The interviewee confirmed that this is not only a matter of culture but it is also because of the meaning of such food to their lives. He believes that Luo has many intelligent people “genius” because of feeding on fish. Moreover, they are healthy and strong because of combining fish with ugali which is actually a carbohydrate. Family Roles & Organizations The interviewee remarked as follows, “if there is anything that Luo culture has failed in, it is its perception on family”.
This study learnt that modern Luo families want to treat their family matters as personal. In fact, most families have begun migrating to urban places just to experience peace and autonomy. However, the interviewee remarked that most parents still uphold cultural values meant to discipline their children. In other words, most families still hold to those traditional ways of bringing up their children. Husbands still remain the heads of their families and with the duty of educating their children. But all the same, wives are supposed to help financially especially if the spouses are both working.