6 Close One of Your Eyes Concealing Differences Between the Generations and the Uses of "Tokens"
1. I am told that the Swahili shave off all body hair save that around the eyes. Beards are seen in Old Town, of course, but those having them are either unconnected to the Swahili community (often unassimilated Ibadhi Muslims from Oman) or young men of the sort to be discussed in this chapter. [BACK]
2. "Adoption," discussed in chap. 4., presents a special case. The adopted children are treated as "own children" by the adoptive parents (often siblings of the birth parents), but the birth parents retain their interest and concern as well. [BACK]
3. I am grateful to Michael Downs for doing this coding. [BACK]
4. Some Swahili have a small callus in the middle of their foreheads. A young man told me that some young people, when no one is around, rub their foreheads against wood or other substances to induce and speed the formation of the callus. It is understood that a callus on the forehead comes from much prayer, involving, as the evolutions in the five-times-a-day prayer performed by all pious Muslims do, pressing the forehead on the ground. A callus is, therefore, a token of piety based on the understandings that guide prayer and given by its owners to all those who notice it. [BACK]
5. The possibility that a certain proportion of what is found in the ethnographic literature must be viewed as tokens, rather than guides, deserves serious consideration. [BACK]