Rokoine and Sophia were married last week at their “boma” here in Olbalbal. It was a good celebration and attended by large numbers of well wishers. I had the privilege of blessing their wedding. Rokoine is studying finances at the University and Sophia is a high school graduate.
A highly unusual and heart rending hyena incursion into a nearby Maasai village took place this week. It happened at the time of night when everyone was deeply asleep. The father of the family was on guard and asleep in the goat and sheep pen in the center of the village, a short distance from the houses of his two wives and their children.
The hyena entered the first house that didn’t have any kind of a door or closure. He grabbed and broke the neck of a two year old child that lay sleeping on the cow skin bed. Frightened by the mother’s screams upon having her foot grabbed by the intruder, the hyena ran out of the house and entered that of the second wife. That house also had nothing blocking the entrance. Once inside, the hyena killed a small child and was beginning to savage the woman of the house when the husband showed up. He killed the hyena with as single thrust of his spear.
By that time, two small children were dead and both of the man’s wives had been mauled. It was a horrendously sad day for all of us here at Olbalbal.
After having seen hyenas coming to drink at the tap in our front yard each of the last three evenings, we are being very careful. Usually our door is open till late at night and we sit on our front porch enjoying the cool evening breezes. The hyenas have been coming at about eleven o’clock each night and, at least for the the time being, we are inside and our door is shut well ahead of that hour
I had a funeral this week.
Esipat has died of a broken heart.
This is one of the saddest events that has taken place here at Olbalbal in a long time.
Before his death some years ago, Esupat’s husband arranged the marriage of his daughter, Nasha. He accepted gifts of tobacco and honey beer, and also received a number of cattle as the bride price of Nasha. Then he sickened and died. Four years passed and the prospective in-laws made no further move to complete the negotiations for Nasha to be the wife of their son.
Then Nasha finished secondary school and met a young man, also a secondary school graduate. They fell in love and, with the agreement of Nash’s mother, the boy’s family began negotiations to marry Nasha to their son. They agreed to return to the first suitor the cattle that he had given.
Suddenly the first family was desperate to finish the deal and take Nasha to their village. Nasha’s mother, given the disinterest of the first suitors for years and her daughter’s wishes, came down on the side of her daughter. In resent weeks it became a huge issue, with frequent meetings of Maasai “Ileguanak” leaders, all siding with the family that Nash’as father agreed to before his death. They maintain that Maasai tradition must be followed. The wishes and decisions of a girl’s father must be honored. The girl herself and her mother have no say in the matter.
The pressure mounted over the weeks with the Maasai leadership pressuring Esupat to force her daughter to marry into the original family of suitors. Then, this week, Esupat developed very high blood pressure and died, I think…..of a broken heart.
There was a huge turnout for the funeral and burial Esupat’s village. The events remain a topic of intense discussion.