Christmas was good. We had celebrations here at the main mission of Olbalbal and at the outstation of Ngoile with midnight services also in both places. Fr. Arkado had the masses here and I went to Ngoile. Here are a few pictures of the church service here. There was roasted goat and a meal of rice at both places….a good day!
Our village football team won the match against Loongoku three weeks ago Sunday in a penalty shoot out. Our rival, Loongoku, is a Maasai village a half hour away by car. Everyone here has been looking forward to the match that took place a couple of days ago, hoping for an outright victory. Both teams wanted to win on goals instead of on penalty shoot out points that won us the game a few weeks ago.
In preparation for the match. the two teams collected money, each player contributing the equivalent of a dollar and a half. With the collected funds, they bought a goat and two cases of soda. The winning team was to get the goat and a case of soda, the losers a case of soda.
Now the game has taken place and the result was tie score, 2-2. There was a major quarrel among the players toward the end of the game, something having to do with two soccer balls that were evidently in play at the same time. Anyway, neither team won the goat. That is to be the trophy at a future game. The soda was divided up and enjoyed by both teams. Having the soda together evidently went a long way toward healing the rift between the two teams.
Triplets were born earlier this afternoon to a young woman in a nearby maasai encampment. Details are sparse so far and we are all waiting to hear if the infants survived and any other news of the family. Day 2 – This is an occurrence that is almost unheard of in Maasai county. People say that it happened before but a long time ago, It is now one day after the birth of the three children and they are all still alive. Yesterday I took some gifts of cooking oil, sugar and tea to the new mother whose home is in the nearby village. The mother and three children are doing well so far. Day 3 – The triplets are still surviving and so far are healthy and have shown know signs of illness. The mother though is very weak. She is needing support to get up off the bed. I guess it will take a while for her to recover from her ordeal. I met the father today, and older warrior. He seems bewildered and proud at the same time, acting a little like he had done it all by himself. The triplets are all girls and I’m told that they are identical.
A seven foot long cobra attacked a man inside a house yesterday afternoon in the village closest to my house. The Maasai elder felt something touch his head while sitting on the skin bed next to the fire. He brushed it off and a heavy snake dropped from the roof to the floor in front of him biting him on the leg. His calls for help brought warriors that killed the snake and carried the man to our government dispensary here at Olbalbal. They carried the dead snake in a cloth bag and dumped it in the front yard of the clinic creating an attraction that distracted some small crowds of people from the cattle market that was taking place nearby. With no anti venom available at this very rural clinic without a fridge to preserve such medicine, a Land Rover was enlisted to carry the man to the nearest hospital at the town of Karatu two and a half hours away from us here at Olbalbal. Two hours into the journey, at the entrance to Ngorongoro Conservation Preserve, the man succumbed to what must have been a massive infusion of cobra venom and died. They took the body the rest of the way to Karatu and brought it back here today where the family is now in the midst of the burial rites.I am told that this attack was the result of the victim have been cursed in a rivalry between two Laibons, Maasai Witch Doctors. The two brothers, one of whom was the snake bite victim. The two sons of the same father different mothers were bitter rivals for the following of the local Maasai people who go to witch doctors for help in circumstance where modern medicine and other resources don’t seem to help. It seems that this latest death is one of a series of three that have left members of this family dead in the recent past and were all due to snake bites. It is believed that Maasai Laibons have a special affinity with snakes and can enlist their help to eliminate rivals.
Lions have been unusually active around Olbalbal these days. There have been a number of sittings both at night and during the day. Maybe it has to do with the presence of large numbers of wildebeest. The wildebeest are giving birth these days and presenting a threat to the health of Maasai cattle. Cattle find the wildebeest after births appetizing and become sick when they eat them. The warriors are out trying to block the wildebeest from getting near the grazing herds of cattle. The movement of the wildebeest is a yearly event but this year there seem to be larger herds than is usual. My hope is that the lions will stick to their preferred diet of wildebeest steak.