Rainmaking and Goat Slaughtering

Not far from Mfangano is a sacred island known to its guardians (members of the Wasamo clan) as Nzenze, also known as the "Moving Island," since Nzenze apparently followed the Wasamo here when they migrated from Uganda. No one other than Wasamo clan members is permitted on the island, and bizarre obstacles supposedly meet anyone who dares test this superstition. Wasamo elders have long used the island as their magical weather control center, engineering rain for Mfangano by conducting a sacred ceremony there. Elders would despond to the island and slaughter a black goat. Slicing the animal in half (while still alive), they would leave half the sacrifice on the island (presumably to be consumed by the large python that guards the island's sacred shrine), and take the other half home with them, where they'd roast and feast on the meat. Apparently, this would appease the gods and bring rain. Cleverly, when the elders wished to replace incessant rain with sunshine, they'd perform the same ritual using a white goat instead. Other myths reveal that the island was also a place where, when famine and drought faced Mfangano's people, food would miraculously present itself -- often in the form of a humungous goat, large enough to feed the entire clan. Times have definitely changed, and the rainmaking ceremony no longer happens, although the Wasamo have started cultivating crops on the island. For visitors, it remains one of the few islands in the area where hippos and crocs can still be spotted, although if you attempt to land on its shores, you'll be at the mercy of the gods.

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