This past week our Spiritan boss here in Tanzania, Fr. Philip Massawe spent a couple of days with us here at Olbalbal. He had the chance to accompany me on a couple of visits to Maasai villages for prayer services and a Maasai mass at Ngoile, the outstation some five miles from the main mission here at Meshili. At Ngoile there was a feast of goat prepared by the the Christian community. It was a good visit with time to talk with him about my work here at Olbalbal. After visiting all the Maasai missions here at Ngorongoro, Endulen, Nainokanoka, Olbalbal and Joe Herzstein’s Mission on the lip of the crater, we had a meeting. Joe hosted the gathering with roasted goat and rice. During the meeting part there was discussion of inculturation and the various needs of the missions.
During his stay, Philip had a chance to use my bucket shower and others joys of living in the bush. I use a bucket with a shower head attached and filled with water heated over our open cooking fire.and others joys of living in the bush.
Leaving the mission one day last week to go to a village for a teaching and prayer service, we passed a small herd of buffalo just a few hundred yards from my house.
We didn’t think much of it since coming across buffalo, giraffe and many other species of wild animals is a daily occurrence for us. Later in the day we found out that just minutes after we had passed the herd of Buff, a young warrior was gored and killed by one of them and his companion, also a teenage warrior, was badly injured. The mother of the dead boy is understandably devastated.
At 10 o’clock last night I was reading in my room and heard loud cries
from the kitchen where we cook over and open fire surrounded by three stones to support cooking pots. Malaye, our cook, spotted a red cobra near the fire. Yohana, a just graduated high school student staying with us ran into the kitchen with a stout stick and was able to kill the intruder.
The snake turned out to be a red cobra, a very venomous snake. We have a lot of those in the area. Putting the “dirty oil” around the house that I mentioned last week doesn’t seem to be doing the job. I think we need to look for a cat.
Yesterday morning Nosikari was cooking corn meal gruel for her children gathered around the fire. A loose branch holding the roof in place fell into the fire and ignited. Before she could properly react a wall had caught fire. Nosikari wasted no time in gathering up her two small children and fleeing from the burning house. Cooking pots, sleeping skins, blankets and some personal stuff were lost in the fire, but no one was hurt.
Cooking over an open fire in the middle of a house often causes tragedy. Small children, playing by the fire, frequently overturn pots filled with boiling liquid and are badly burned.
In addition to boasting of a population of friendly welcoming people, Olbalbal can boast, if boasting is in order, of a serious snake population.
We have a lot of snakes around here and they even get into the house. My latest attack method is a liberal application“dirty oil” around the outside of the house. By “Dirty Oil” I mean the oil that is drained from crank cases during an oil change. The garage in the city of Arusha
some six hours from Olbalbal where I have my Toyota Land Cruiser serviced every 3,000 miles has given me a couple of gallons of the stuff and I can get more from them in the future. It seems to be working. The Black Mamba that got into the house last year was a serious wake up call, to say nothing of the Puff Adder that got into the house a few months before.
The snakes are searching for food in the form of mice. We keep that population at a minimum with frequent applications of poison, but it is impossible to eliminate the mice completely.