Tuesday, January 21, 2014

An unedited conversation about Dinka prostitution and HIV/AIDS

(The only editing is that Machiec is not the real speaker.)

Machiec on Prostitution.
(JLD) Does the word prostitutes mean something to you?
Machiec:  Yes. A prostitute is a lady who divorce with her husband. Prostitute also is very bad among the Dinkas. When a lady makes herself to be a prostitute it is not good. No one can marry her.
(JLD) Is she always a divorced person?
Machiec:  Yes. And when she made a prostitute way, no one can marry her. If she go and stay at the house quietly someone will come and marry. If the wife maker herself a prostitute lady, no one marry her. She just goes and makes tea for sell in the market and sleeping under her tukel (Swahili word for hut or house) and doing something what she like.
(JLD) Are there prostitutes in Akot?
Machiec:  Maybe. [1] (with a laugh). All the villages, all the towns there are prostitutes. I don’t know the number of them. I hope the town have no prostitutes. If it is a very small town, prostitute may not stay there. Many of the prostitutes make some of them, the tea, the beer, or alcohol, the tea… making food in the kitchen or in the hotel[2], that is their work.
(JLD) There are people who come to our clinic with diseases that are transmitted by sex. How do you think they get it?
Machiec:  Some people  they get it from the wife. Many others they go and have sex with others. Many people they go in the town and leave their homes they can mate with others. If another women comes to the village and mix with the others, that is another way to get diseases.

(JLD) Have your heard of HIV/AIDS?
I heard about that and I don’t know way of it. I don’t know the sign and symptom of it.[3] When you marry and the wife have no children, you have the permission to marry.
You keep the first wife and home and you agree with her to have marriage another wife. You do not send her back. You can treat her like the way you treat the wife who having children. You give them two houses to let that wife have her own children and the other her own children. If they (the wives) have a good relationship, they can help each other. It is the way of the relationship.
(JLD) Once I met a woman whose child was dying of malaria. She said she was so upset for fear that if another child died the husband’s family would not let her back because .
It is difficult with another people. If you know God is the one, the only (one to) have the power you can stay with your wife until God bless you to have your own children.

[1] The entire market place in Akot is situated along a single dirt road and is less than 100 meters long. Machiec was also born, raised, and still lives in Akot. He spends a great deal of time in the market socializing and drumming up membership in the local Baptist church. It seems, therefore, highly unlikely that Machiec is actually unaware of who the prostitutes are in such a small place.
[2] Hotels in this area simply mean a stopping place where travelers, almost all men, are allowed to put up their nets, sleep the night, and purchase food. They are not in this area structures as one might think of in
Western cultures.
[3] Machiec has worked as a translator at many of our remote clinic sites. He almost assuredly picked up this terminology during this work. He has no medical training of his own and makes his living as an evangelist paid by US Southern Baptists.