Volume 14, #4
Recently we had a meeting of our Christian communities of the Ngorongoro and Endulen. We were many, the leaders of the Christian communities, the catechists, and pastors, about fifty in all. During a particularly sensitive moment, when all was very still and everyone was listening carefully to one of the village elders, a piercing cry rang out. This particular cry is only used in times of extreme danger, when Maasai cattle camp is attacked by cattle raiders, or a person has been the victim of a serious accident and needs help badly. At the first sound of such a cry every one within hearing drops whatever they are doing and runs to help. The classroom where we were having our meeting emptied out in about three seconds flat. Our meeting was predominantly make up of warriors, who make up most of the leadership of our communities.
The cry was prompted by the abduction of one of my Maasai Prep School girls. Her brothers had staged a daring daylight raid at about one o’clock in the afternoon when all was quiet on the compound. They didn’t realize that our meeting was going on. It would a vast understatement to say that the two warriors carrying off the schoolgirl were surprised when thirty warrior Christian leaders descended on them like an avalanche. The girl, Kosiande, was rescued almost before they had time to get her off the compound. The local constables took the abductors off to the local lockup.
The Toyota Land Cruiser is showing the first cracks in the body, a small one above the door on the passenger side. The car is only a year and seven months old, but I guess our roads or more accurately non-roads have taken their toll. This is not a major problem but I need to have it carefully welded and watch for more as they develop. I had hoped it would be some time yet before problems would begin to develop. I still have a year and a half of payments on the car.
The secondary school being built by the Ngorongoro conservation Authority with the help of collections taken up among the Maasai people of the area is slowly taking shape. It is located about five miles from Endulen in the direction of Lake Eyasi. Three classrooms are ready now and a small block of offices in the final stages of building. The buildings are simple cement block construction but very nicely done. Embarwa Secondary School, as it will be called, takes its name from reeds growing in the stream that flows below the school. In other parts of Tanzania these reeds are used for making mats and baskets. There is no information yet on where the ongoing support of the school is to come from. We are hoping that the Conservation Authority will undertake to run the school. So many schools fail that are built with outside help and then given over to the local authorities to run on the school fees from the students. Especially in the case of boarding schools, as this one will be, school fees can’t begin to cover the costs. It will be terrific to have a secondary school in our own area of Ngorongoro.
DANIDA, a Swedish government organization, is working in the Ngorongoro area to restock the families that have lost all their cattle through disease. East Coast Fever, a tick born disease that attack calves, has devastated the herds of a significant percentage of the families in the Ngorongoro Conservation area. DANIDA is working with the traditional custom of the Maasai people to help family and clan members in trouble. DANIDA will help a family when the extended family or clan will help. If the extended family will agree to give the family a cow, DANIDA will match that traditional help with a cow from DANIDA. The project is still in its initial stages, but looks very promising.
I have talked to a few of you about our having formed a team of the catechists from our two parishes, Ngorongoro and Endulen. They, twelve of them, are off now traveling around for two weeks on foot to do intensive team teaching among our various communities. Right now they are on the Ngorongoro side. Next time, three months from now, they’ll be visiting the Christian communities on the Endulen side. This is great for the people, because they get the ideas of all the catechists, whereas usually they just see their own catechist and me. It also makes for a unity and good spirit among the catechists to be working together on a regular basis.
We had a very sad funeral a few days ago. A woman, the fourth wife of a local Maasai man, became pregnant by a man other than her husband. Her husband was so angry with her that he would not speak to her or even greet her. His attitude hit her so hard that she eventually saw no way out except to abort. One of the normal ways people try to have abortions here is by taking massive doses of chloroquine, the malaria drug available everywhere at local shops. She went to the shops and bought a handful of tablets and took them all. She killed not only the unborn child but herself too. We all knew her and liked her. The whole town of Endulen and people from many of the surrounding Maasai villages turned out for the funeral. Everyone felt terrible and, hopefully, got a lot of food for thought.
Please help me to continue the work here in Endulen. Sandi Grey will receive your contribution and let me know so that I can write to you.
Ms Sandi Grey
47 Berkshire Ct., #3B
Akron, OH 44313-6761