Photos (1) At puberty, a Dinka boy is given a namesake ox, known as his personality ox, to which he is inseperably linked. He believes he and that animal are one. Throughout life he will be recognized not only for his deeds, but also for the beauty of the ox that walks beside him.We were deeply moved by the beauty of the cattle camp – the color of the sky at sunset as the sun’s rays filter through layers of smoke, the striking silhouettes of cattle with their lyre shaped horns, and the tall herders, up to 7′ 6″ in height, moving among them.Dinka children lavish endless care and affection on their animals, which are considered part of the family: male youths are named after favored oxen in the hope that they will mature with the same strength and beauty.For warmth at night, Dinka children sleep around the fire cuddled close to their goats and dogs, the animals being part of their family. The fires fill the camp with smoke, which keeps the mosquitos at bay. Until twelve years of age, children go naked, covered only with ash – a style well suited to the dust and heat of the dry season cattle camp.Early in the morning a young boy milks his goat, while a kid sucks greedily from another teat. Milking the herds is one of the most important responsibilities of the younger generation.Scampering among the cattle, a child reaches up to groom them and caress their horns, fearless of their length, height, and sharp points. The animals are important members of their families and essential for their survival.On top of a termite mound, imitating the horns of their favorite animals, Dinka children enjoy a convivial social life in the dry season cattle camp. At puberty each boy will receive a namesake ox which will become his personality ox for life; the ox and the boy will be considered one.Between November and April every year, the Dinka move their vast herds to dry season cattle camps, to take advantage of the rich grasslands on either side of the River Nile.In the Wut (cattle camp), countless herds of animals with majestic lyre-shaped horns stretch as far as the eye can see. Young Dinka men and women spend their time surrounded by their beasts, living in perfect harmony with them.While carrying her baby, a mother smokes a traditional clay pipe filled with tobacco. An ivory pendant shaped like a cow horn hangs from the back of the bead necklace that was given to her by her husband at their marriage. Dinka mothers show the tender bonds they share with their children by the gentle supportive touch of a hand.A young boy catches a monitor lizard in the shallow water of a tributary of the Nile.Dinka men use their arms to emulate the shape of the horns of their beloved namesake ox. Each herder has trained the horns of his ox since calfhood, encouraging them to grow into elegant shapes.Dinka elders are the guardians of tribal wisdom and tradition. They say that while one’s cattle represent wealth, all men and women are equal. To be considered a chief, an elder must be kind, generous, gentle, and virtuous.The ivory bracelet worn by the elder at left denotes status and wealth.At the end of the dry season when pastures are scarce, the Dinka return with their cattle to their village homesteads on higher ground. Women carry all of their possessions balanced on their heads, while men drive the herds.As they return home at the end of the dry season, the Dinka drive their herds across small rivers and tributaries of the Nile. Carefully, they balance their limited material possessions on their heads.A newly born calf is carried by a herder to protect it from the deep and swiftly flowing water. Anxious mothers swim closely behind.Dinka women remove their clothing before entering the river, revealing their beaded jewelery. Their belts and bracelets have been worn since puberty, while the necklaces were given by their husbands at the time of marriage.Dinka settled homesteads are made of mud and covered with conical thatched roofs. They are built in single or two-story styles; if single, another is built in close proximity to store grain or house an extended family.A typical two-story family home is designed with living quarters on the ground and a granary above. The woman seated on the flat roof cleans dried stalks of sorghum, while the young girl below pounds grain with a wooden mortar and pestle.Towards the end of the dry season when the river levels drop, the Dinka use their spears to trap fish beneath the swampy surface. The daily catch includes Nile perch, tilapia, catfish, and mudfish.