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RITUALS OF MIGRATION: SOCIALLY ENTRENCHED IDEOLOGIES AND PRACTICES AMONG MIGRANTS FROM AMHARA NATIONAL REGIONAL STATE [Abstract ID: 1002-15]
In the Amhara regional state, work outside the house appears to be the best strategy to secure a livelihood for a household in the present changing economic, social, political and physical environment. Migration to the Gulf States and the Sudan has been seen as a major option by the youth from the region. While there is much debate about the advantages and pitfalls of migration, this study moves beyond them to the ideologies of rituals performed by migrants from the region leaving for the Sudan and the Gulf States.
Prior to departure, migrants have a preconceived idea of what to expect on the journey and the experiences to be faced in the destination country. Ethiopian migrants are told they are expected to become more submissive. This predefined notion includes the protection against an unwanted pregnancy by using contraceptive methods as well as acts of ritual cleansing in the church and religious rituals for a safe journey and some luck. The ritual of cleansing oneself continues upon return among Christian migrants, particularly women. In some Amhara communities, early marriage of potential migrants is promoted for a girl to experience sexual relationship prior to leaving the country, as it is believed to play down the psychological effect of sexual abuse in the destination country. The remittances to be sent back home are sometimes fought over between spouse and the family of the migrant. The paper focuses on these practices taken as rituals by migrants and the ideologies associated with them.