Leisure Recreation and the Arts

Men spend more time at leisure than women, but the difference is not spectacular. In the time-allocation data all adult men were engaged in clear-cut leisure for 42% of observations (37% for married men) and adult women for 30% (married women, 26%). For children under the age of 18, there is no marked gender difference in leisure time (35% for girls and 33% for boys).

Most adult leisure time is spent in relaxation and conversation with other persons of the same sex. Gender segregation is voluntary and not absolute. In the 1970s, the "beer hall" at the sublocation center, where traditional beer was brewed and sold, was a popular gathering place for older men and women (widows), and one of the few places where women and men were commonly seen socializing together. Beer parties in family compounds usually involved women brewing and tasting the beer in one area and men drinking it in another.

There are also "traditional" singing and dancing groups, separated by gender, that gather to rehearse and perform their acts at community fund-raising events. Churches may sponsor mixed-sex choirs. There is a popular game of strategy played by distributing stones among rows of holes in certain patterns. Men gathered in the sublocation center can be seen playing it, but never women. Checkers or draughts, imported by the British, is another game played by men. Children of both sexes play both these games. Children make their own toys. For example, a worn-out plastic sheet (used for protecting tea seedlings) bound up with string served as a soccer ball for neighborhood games. Children play mostly in mixed-sex groups. Schools sponsor track and field contests, with separate events for male and female students. The Nandi enjoy an international reputation as distance runners. Spectator interest is high for both male and female events.

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