Berki’s Choice

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Since he was 19, this committed Christian has struggled to keep his life clean in God’s eyes. Based on what he knows in God’s Word, Berki has consistently refused to participate in a Hamer people’s cultural rite of passage into manhood: bull jumping. In this ceremony, the village gathers. Bare-backed women chant and blow horns in hopes of provoking the boys to whip them with birch sticks. The permanent scars become a symbol of their devotion — even though some women have died from the beatings.

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