Due to my very slow internet connection here at Olbalobal, I can’t do justice to my web site and other things like Face Book. I’ve chosen to focus on the web page and leave the others till I get a better connection.
Checks sent to me for the work here at Olbabal should be made out to: “Congregation of the Holy Spirit” with a note somewhere on the check that the help is for Olbalbal Mission. The bank that the Spiritans use will not accept checks made out to an individual person. The address to send the help remains the same: Sandra Grey, 405 East St. Elmo Ave., #318, Colorado Springs, CO 80905
The recent installation of the new “Oleguanani lo losho”, the Maasai leader for the whole country, saw me without a working camera. I got my battery charged and took a few pictures. After our Sunday service at Ngoile yesterday, Olendoiki and his family posed for these pictures. The final picture is of Olendooki and four of his five wives, Nasha, Ngoto Dayo, Nolosiyo and Moisan.
This week two scorpions invaded my home, two that I saw and stamped on. Who knows how many more are creeping around that I didn’t see. One, I found lurking in the shower and grabbing a heavy book, I smashed him flat. It could have been a her; I did no close inspection and wouldn’t know what to look for anyway. The second was yesterday evening and showed up about three feet from my bed. I was just about to turn in and almost stepped on the thing. Again, a heavy book did the job. These events have gotten me a bit jittery. I’m certain that it is only a matter of time before one of these things gets me. The Maasai tell me not to worry, that they find them regularly in their house and even on their beds. They nonchalantly tell me that a sting from an “enkulupa” is not fatal: it only hurts terribly for hours…small comfort.
I was wrong. It was not a hyena that killed the two sheep that I described in my most recent blog. It was a leopard and he showed up last night looking for the meal that was quickly taken from him when the alarm was raised. A few of us were sitting on the front porch of the mission about nine last night and we heard a growl. I directed the beam of my flash light into the almost moonless night. The terrifying eyes of a large leopard were staring back at us. We made some noise and he moved off without his meal that we had made our own some hours before.
Just now, people carried two sheep with their stomachs and entrails dragging behind them past the back door. They were attacked by hyenas minutes ago behind my house here. Attacks are taking place more often as the dry season deepens and the predators get desperate for food. The two sheep belonged to the Wandai family. They have just a small herd of sheep and goats and no cattle. This is a major blow to the family fortunes.
Joe Shio, our Spiritan leader here in Tanzania has been chosen to be part of the international leadership team based in Rome. When Fr. Shio took office four years ago, the East African Province had just split into four groups, Tanzanians, Kenyans, Ugandans and Ethiopians. During his tenure, Joe and his able associates have moved us far along the road of mutual understanding and brotherhood. His will be a very hard act to follow.
Maasai leaders, “Illeguanak” gathered from far and wide this week to choose the new “Oleguanani Lo Losho”, one of the three leaders of the Maasai of Tanzania. There were no written ballots. Long discussions settled on the articulate, well liked and rich Olendooki. He and lesser kingpins walked the five miles to the village of the retiring Olendioto, the outgoing leader, to “steal” his staff of office. I have learned that there are two knobbed sticks, one is carried by the Leguanani wherever he goes, the insignia of his position. The other, kept hidden in the house of his oldest wife and never seen in public is the “Cursing staff”. Only used in crisis situations to ward of some great malevolent situation or calamity threatens the Maasai people.
Five stalwart warriors carried Olendooki from the entryway of his village to the middle. They carefully lowered his massive bulk in the midst of his bellowing herd of cattle, angry at being held back from pasture, for the celebration. Here Olendooki was blessed by the assembled elders, sprinkled with milk and honey beer from gourds sprouting rich green grass. Olendooki held his staff of office, the other “Cursing staff” now hidden in the house of Ng’to Moson, his senior wife.
It was a very big deal. All of North and most of central Maasai will now call Olendooki their “Spokesman.”. The outgoing leader, Olendioto, who lives just a few hundred yards from my home here at Olbalbal, has become too old for the travel that the job calls for. The new man, Olendooki is also the leader of our Christian community at Ngoile, eight miles from our center.
The celebration last week was unusual, big time. Not only did a Maasai warrior marry an American girl but most people boycotted the feast for reasons other than the unconventional wedding.
The senior wife of OleSakaya left Maasai jewelry shop on the island of Zanzabar. Her son, Odupoi, grew up on Zanzabar and got into the tourist business where he met Tracy. They came to Olbalbal yesterday to the cattle camp of his father to be married. Tracy’s parents came from the states for the wedding and a Lutheran pastor arrived from Arusha to preside. The wedding went well. The rest of the celebration, a circumcision feast did not.
It seems that OleSakaya’s youngest wife is a Pentecostal and convinced her husband to forbid the newly circumcised age mates of the initiate to gather and sing to him during the night. They sing songs of courage to the boy facing the circumcision ordeal at dawn. It seems that the Pentecostals forbid all traditional stuff. Anyway, Morris, the one to be circumcised upped and took off during the night in protest, taking the feast day ox and twelve sheep with him. The other boys to be circumcised stayed and were initiated at dawn. But in protest against the destruction of tradition, the warriors, the young girls and almost everyone else stayed away from the feast in protest.
But the story doesn’t end there. While driving the ox and sheep through the night, the ox was attacked by hyenas in the dark and eaten by them. Morris eventually made it to the village of father’s brothers and was circumcised three days later together with their sons.