If you missed Steve's first post about the funeral he attended last week check it out here.
Now, here is his look in to the actual ceremony.
Fanenga Omby is what the funeral cermony is called. It means to give a cow. However, many are not able to give cows due to lack of finances, so they simply give whatever they can. I saw people give gifts such as money from $1 to $90, cloths or "lambas" which were used to wrap the casket, bowls, blankets, and one family actually gave three cows. When a big group would come in, they would dance down the middle of the group and hold their gifts high in the air for all to see what they had brought. The entire gift giving was a huge spectacle. While I was there two different groups brought in cows. The first group was five guys and they gave one younger cow. This was very special. I don't know that I realized quite how special until after my ears were already ringing. Basi Mena is another custom among the Mahafaly. If a really great gift is brought in (like a cow) then the men will fire off a blank in their shotgun. Unfortunately for me these shotguns were being held by men who were a few feet away from me. Who knew that a blank shot out of a shotgun was louder than a regular bullet?