Vol. 17, #9
A local Maasai warrior has been murdered with a stab wound to the neck. Lemaiyani was working as a night guard in the Sukuma area near lake Victoria to the West of us. The story is that he was faithful about protecting the property of his employer. During an evening, time off, visit to a bar with friends, he was attacked and killed by a gang that he had repeatedly repulsed while attempting to rob the place that he was guarding. It seems that the way guards deal with robbers is by blowing whistles and banging on tire rims to sound the alarm. Many guards make deals with the gangs. Our local warrior had no arrangement in place to protect him. Lemaiyani leaves two young wives and a number of children.
This month saw the first of our Endulen Maasai girls accepted into university. She is one of the very few Tanzanian Maasai girls to be accepted into University. Seyanoi EnoLaisinet studied here at our one-year program of Osotwa Prep. Then with the help a pastor friend, Dave Simonson, I got her a place at Lutheran Maasai Girls Secondary School, where she did her four years of high school and two of junior college. She finished Form Six this year and has now been accepted into Tumaini University. She is scheduled to begin her freshman year there next month. Seyanoi would like to study law and come back to Maasai country to work for the Maasai people. Another one of our Osotwa program students and local Maasai girls has been accepted into a Medical Assistant program at Kibosho hospital on Mount Kilimanjaro. I think a medical assistant is kind of what we know as a nurse practitioner.
Three of our Osotwa Prep boys also begin university studies next month. All three, Kokell, Ipanga and Tendeu, intend to return to Maasai country on finishing their studies. A fourth boy, Moinga, one of my teachers here at Osotwa Prep has gone off to do a three year Teacher Training Course at Tanga on the Coast. Moinga says that, upon graduation, he will return to work with us here at Osotwa.
When visiting Endulen in May, my brother Dave suggested we start a computer lab here at Osotwa.
Computers are becoming part of many of the courses and jobs that our Osotwa Students go on to. Some familiarity with computers and an ability to touch type will give them a head start. Now I’ve started a touch typing class with one laptop computer and two typewriters. Naisharua, one of our Osotwa program Maasai girls and a first year student at the new secondary school near Endulen, began learning to type three months ago with the lap top and a typing book I picked up at a book store in Arusha. She is now doing about twenty words a minute and has become our typing teacher. Her students are six, three boys and three girls. Naisharua gives her typing classes in the evening when she returns from classes at high school. I have a “Learn to Type” computer program for the Laptop and Touch Typing books for the typewriters. As time goes on, I hope to add more Laptops and typewriters. We have to go with Laptops because our electricity is solar and my setup doesn’t produce enough juice for a tabletop computer lab. Later on, I’d like to expand the program to include some basic word processing and working with simple spreadsheets.
Stars, the halos round the moon and the Milky Way.
Maasai know whether it will rain or not according to the appearance or non-appearance of the six stars, called the Pleiades, which follow after one another like cattle. When the month, which the Maasai call the Pleiades, arrives, and the Pleiades are no longer visible, they know that the rains are over. For the Pleiades set in that month and are not seen again until the season of showers has come to an end: it is then that they reappear.
There are three other stars, which follow one another like the cattle, called the old men (Orion’s sword), and again three others that pursue them from the left, called the widows (Orion’s belt). Now the Maasai say that as the widows have lost their husbands, they are waylaying the old men in order to get married to them.
There is also Kileghen (Venus), and by this planet the Maasai know that it is near dawn. It is in consequence called the star of the dawn. When Kileghen is seen, women pray for warriors who are late in returning from a cattle raid.
Then there is Leghen, which when visible is a sign that the moon will shortly rise. Leghen remains in the west, and is only seen in the evening.
If the Maasai see a halo round the moon, they say that a place has been attacked and many cattle captured. The halo is supposed to represent the cattle kraal.
Then again, if they see the road, which crosses the sky (the milky way), they say that this is the road by which the warriors drive cattle when they go on cattle raids.
Till next month…