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Price Of Your Daughter: In Congo, Costly Dowries Clash With New Values

In Goma, in eastern DRC, families looking to cash in on the biggest dowry are pushing young people away from mariage. Some young people chose to live as unmarried partners, others break up and most young women stay at home with their parents...

Praying for a peace and prosperous futures (babasteve)
Praying for a peace and prosperous futures (babasteve)
Clarisse Tantine

GOMA - "My life is going to change thanks to my daughter. I am going to ask for four cows. Each will be worth 2,000 dollars, and with that I'll buy a car!" Jean-Pierre, a resident of Goma in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been thinking about this for a long time. He is explaining his project to the man who will represent him during negotiations for his daughter's dowry. These "spokespeople" have the last word: they decide what the terms are, and often settle the negotiations against the interests of the young groom-to-be.

It is a situation that upsets many young people who would rather live with their partner without their families' blessing. "I live with my fiancée, not my wife, because my in-laws were asking for an outrageous amount of money that would take me at least four years to save," says 29-year-old Theodore. "They didn't want the little that I had, and the waiting would be too long. So my fiancée and I decided to live together without their agreement. The rest will follow."

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Society

Urban Indigenous: How Peru's Shipibo-Conibo Keep Amazon Culture Alive In The City

For four years, indigenous photographer David Díaz Gonzales has documented the lives and movements of his Shipibo-Conibo community, as many of them migrated from their native Peruvian Amazon to the city. A work of remembrance and resistance.

For Shipibo-Conibo women, sporting a fringe is usually a sign of celebration or ceremony.

Rosa Chávez Yacila

YARINACOCHA — It was decades ago when the Shipibo-Conibo left their settlements along the banks of the Ucayali River, in eastern Peru, to begin a great migration to the cities. Still among the largest Amazonian communities in Peru — 32,964 according to the Ministry of Culture — though most Shipibo-Conibo now live in the urban district of Yarinacocha.

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