Traditional Luo granary (Dero)

Granaries or dero was storage structure for grain and other non-perishable food. Besides its practical functions, these structures had other nonphysical uses. “The granary signified that the woman who had one grew her own crop and cooked in her own house.”

The owner of the homestead was required to bequeath each wife with a granary to support her and her children, and the more the granaries were there in a compound the more the wives a man was believed to have and able to support. The community frowned upon anybody taking on a wife he could not support. Thus, the more the granaries in a homestead, the wealthier the owner of the homestead was thought to be.

The sons in the homestead and their wives were not allowed to build or have their own granaries in the homestead. This could create unnecessary competition and friction among members of the homestead. Although the sons of the homestead could own their own huts, they were required to use the main granaries belonging to their own mothers for their food. Their own wives also depended on the granaries of their mothers-in-law for sustenance. This forced them to rely on the senior members of the homestead for their survival, to ask them for food, and to eat together with them. This system therefore forced the members of the homestead to depended on one another. It fostered unity. You realized that you could not survive without each other.


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