“[T]here is one common value, apart from language, to which all Ik hold tenaciously. It is ngag, ‘food.’ This is not a cynical quip — there is no room for cynicism with the Ik. It is clearly stated by the Ik themselves in their daily conversation, in their rationale for action and thought.” (Ch. 6, p. 112.)Parents kick their children out of the house at the age of three. Children from age three to seven live in ‘bands’ of 6–12 children, in which a newcomer of course begins on the lowest rung and then gradually progresses as he or she grows older. In the end his or her next younger colleagues kick him or her out of the band, and he or she has to join a new band consisting of children age eight to thirteen, where he or she is again the youngest and thus least important member. At thirteen or so he or she is again kicked out by his or her next younger colleagues, and from then one is an adult. “These friendships [between children of similar age in a band] are temporary, however, and inevitably there comes a time, the time of transition, when each turns on the one that up to then has been the closest to him; that is the rite de passage, the destruction of that fragile bond called friendship. When this has happened to you three or four times you are ready for the world, knowing friendship for the joke it is.” (Ch. 6, p. 114.) “For most the plump years, the stomach-filled years, the good years, were between about fifteen and nineteen&rdquo (ch. 9, p. 191).
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