Category Archives: Newsletters

February 2011

Endulen Diary
Vol. 26, #2
February 2011

Hands,

During a Maasai service at the outstation of Mokilal, nestled in the hill country just West of Ngorongoro crater, I was distracted. Years ago, in the middle seventies, when the first Maasai priests began to be ordained, they got together and decided on a common policy. Their decision was that once baptized no Maasai might continue to go to the Laibon, the Maasai doctor for the bewitched. This has been a very difficult rule to follow since many problems just do not respond to the ministrations of the modern hospital or traditional Maasai healers. One example would be infertility and another might be a run of bad luck that goes on and on and on. The problem is that People are left hanging out there with no place to go for help. Healers and hospitals are ineffectual and their faith in Jesus is not yet strong enough to replace the Laibon.

In response to this situation, we started having a blessing of the sick and of troubled people at each of our services. The blessing takes the form of the laying on of hands, anointing with oil and blessing with water mixed with milk from a traditional gourd of blessing stoppered with green grass. This practice has gone some way to fill the space left by the admonition not to go to the Laibon.

Now I come to the reason for my distraction last week. Among those coming for the special blessing at Mokilal were a number of older women. When anointing their foreheads and palms with oil, I began to notice their hands. More deformed and calloused hands would be hard to find. Fingernails broken and missing, fingers swollen and arthritic; those hands were something. I began to think of all children cared for by those hands, the firewood those hands had cut and gathered, all the heavy kerosene tins of water those hands had brought home from springs and streams, the countless meals prepared, the many houses of sticks and cow dung built, cows milked, calves and goats care for, loads of corn meal carried miles to home from the shops, and all kinds of other stuff that I have not thought of. The hands of an African woman and the hands of the Maasai African women of Mokilal speak of the kind of dedication to family and village that is truly astounding. How do they do it and keep doing it year after year?

Women off to pray,

In recent weeks large numbers of local Maasai women have been going from village to village and to the shopkeepers at the Endulen trading center to collect money. They were preparing themselves to make the three-day trip to the Sonjo valley. The Sonjo people live in a single long valley North of us near the Kenya border. One fascinating aspect of the Sonjo religious experience is the unseen but very vocal spirit oracle that answers questions and solves problems. The Sonjo themselves and many outsiders like the Maasai travel great distances to consult this the oracle spirit that resides in a sacred house and makes a great noise and answers the questions of suppliants especially about the future. The Maasai are under threat from every side these days. In many places their dry season grazing land has been appropriated for huge agricultural projects. Many of their springs have been taken by the agriculturalists to the extent that in some places the Maasai are no longer permitted to water their herds, and disease has wiped out many Maasai herds. It is true that there are some rich Maasai but also true that large numbers of people have few or no cattle at all and live on the edge, experiencing hunger for significant periods each year. These and other issues, the Maasai took to oracle of Sonjo during this past week. It is unlikely, of course, that they will get any clear answers to their problems, but desperate situations call for unusual and desperate measures.

The President and our road

The president came to visit and prompted a major overhaul of the road from Ngorongoro crater to Endulen. For many months now it has been deeply rutted with lots of spring popping holes. The president came to open the new facilities for tourists at Laitole. Ancient footprints of ancestors and various ancient animals were found there years ago and because the artifacts were of a delicate nature, they were covered with a layer of cement to preserve them. Those things last many thousands of years, maybe millions of years when the local animal and human population was tramping back and forth in the area gathering honey and herding cows. The same area, now at the mercy of tourists will not last any time at all. Anyway the President presided over the uncovering of the footprints and the establishment of a safe environment for them. And, most importantly, at least to us, we have there is a new red clay, but super road out of Endulen.

Till next month,
ned

January 2011

Endulen Diary
Vol. 26, #1
January 2011

I am happy to report that because of the generosity of the readers of this newsletter, I have been able to assist with full payment of tuition and other school fees twelve Maasai girls and eight Maasai boys for the first half of 2011. Also partial help in the form of fifty dollars each has gone to nine other Maasai girls and two boys. The total dispersed among these students to pay for first semester expenses is $6,400 dollars. Included among these is a Maasai girl being supported by the Conservation Authority of Ngorongoro in school to become a Clinical Medial Officer? I have given her $100 dollars for expenses during the first half of the year. On behalf of these Maasai young people of Ngorongoro, may I offer a heartfelt thanks to all of you that have helped.

Thoughts from Florian Schneider, a medical student, who has undertaken the daunting project of raising money for a maternity wing for our hospital here in Endulen:

At the age of 19 I stayed for one year with the Holy Ghost Fathers among the nomadic Borana in southern Ethiopia. I was used to people moving from one place to the other and that certain type of carefree character and proud attitude, which seems to come along. But was the only reason of seeking new places to find fresh grazing grounds for their cattle or did the idea become already so fixed in the minds of people that they cannot live without it anyway? I never found a solution at that time.

Since I came to Endulen in Tanzania I have seen so many Europeans fascinated by the nomadic way of living of the Maasai.ÿ Is it because the nomadic lifestyle is the complete opposite of our European way of living with one family in one house at one place? I just knew that I had to face the same kind of characters and attitudes again, which I was not thrilled with at the beginning. I always had the impression that eyes were following me. Not the eyes of small children in the town looking for entertainment or some small sweets. They seemed to watch my actions and movements quite closely. Greetings were only exchanged, when I started and then only in Maa, the Maasai language. Since most of the staff in the hospital are not Maasai and since the other Tanzanian tribes have a lot of prejudices against the Maasai, I was soon filled with negative images.

It took me quite a while to get some Maasai friends, who introduced me slowly to the Maasai culture and the behavior towards the different age groups. I could ask them all the questions, which were in my head for such a long time. Since then I had the impression that I was more open, which reflected towards the openness of the Maasai. I was invited to come into their Bomas and even to big celebrations and rituals, which I always took as a big honor.

Patience and positive intentions were my keys to the big miracles of the Maasai culture, which I am still trying to understand. So far we could learn a lot about their deliveries and the role of traditional birth attendants at home to be able to build a new maternity ward at Endulen Hospital. The plans were designed together with mothers and their traditional midwives.

Maasai herd boy attacked by buffalo,

In light drizzle and intermittent fog Loishiye, the son of Mishilyeki, was herding his goats in heavy bush last week in the area of Endulen called Ndarpoi. In the shelter of low hanging tree branches sheltered a cape buffalo with her small calf. When Loishiye was not far she stood and waited, protecting her calf. Unaware of the buffalo, the young warrior wandered close and the buffalo charged. She hit him with her head and fortunately missing him with her sharp thorns. He was battered in the back and legs and collapsed leaving the buffalo to wander off with her calf. His shepherding warrior companion soon found him, got him up and after staggering for a few steps Loishiye collapsed again. Leaving him, his friend ran to their village called people to help. A number of men soon arrived and carried the boy back to the village. His father, Mishilyeki ran to the mission to call me. I went with our Toyota Land Cruiser to retrieve Loishiye from the village and take him to our mission hospital here at Endulen where he is slowing recovering from his ordeal.

Till next month,
ned

December 2010

Endulen Diary
Vol. 25, #4
December 2010

Half way through medical training,

Naishorua OlDumu is with us for the Christmas holidays. She has now finished a year and a half of her Physician?s Assistant medical training at Machame Hospital on Mount Kilimanjaro. She returns in January for the last year and a half of her training. Naishorua hopes to go on to medical school for her MD following a year or two of work in a local hospital or clinic here in Maasai country.

Lion attack,

Two broken legs, one broken arm and numerous deep lacerations were the result of a recent lion attack on a Maasai neighbor here in the Endulen area. Three young warriors followed the tracks of three lost cows and came upon a lion eating a buffalo. They thought that they could chase away the lion and take the buffalo meat back to their village. It turned out to be a bad decision. The lion attacked and Lenana didn?t have a chance. The lion sprang, bore him to the ground biting a good size chunk out of his shoulder and doing all kinds of other damage. The warrior survived and is being treated for his numerous wounds at KCMC referral hospital in Moshi. The lost cows were eventually found unharmed and returned to the village.

We attack the bee colony in our walls,

Last night, with a bucket of DDT laced water, Fr. Joachim Karagwe attacked our resident bees and successfully killed most and chased away the colony. The bees have been a big problem for many months, stinging us and visitors on a daily basis. Fr. Joachim, who works with me here at Endulen, was stung twice by alert bee sentries as he poured the lethal mixture into the holes in our walls that serve as entrances and exits to the hive.

Poor exam results,

Some of the girls on leave from secondary school have very poor final marks from the past school year. We have arranged that one of the older boys, also one of our secondary school students, work with them on their English and Math. It is working out well. They have classes with Lankangu every day and seem to be making some headway. English is a big problem for our Maasai students. They never speak except in the class so it is a very difficult subject for them. At the same time, they will need English for any kind of work they will be looking for after graduation.

Face book Maasai style on the Serengeti,

Mepukori a secondary school student and cycle cell anemia sufferer went off to visit his folks on the Northern Serengeti for Christmas break. Two days into his trek home I received an unexpected message. Mepukore wrote that he was well and that he was expecting to reach his home village within a day. The startling thing about this message was that Mepukori was sending his message using his facebook account from a very inexpensive Nokia cell phone with a one and a half inch square screen in the middle of the Serengeti plains.

Maasai herd boy attacked by buffalo,

In light drizzle and intermittent fog Loishiye, the son of Mishilyeki, was herding his goats in heavy bush last week in the area of Endulen called Ndarpoi. In the shelter of low hanging tree branches sheltered a cape buffalo with her small calf. When Loishiye was not far she stood and waited, protecting her calf. Unaware of the buffalo, the young warrior wandered close and the buffalo charged. She hit him with her head and fortunately missing him with her sharp thorns. He was battered in the back and legs and collapsed leaving the buffalo to wander off with her calf. His shepherding warrior companion soon found him, got him up and after staggering for a few steps Loishiye collapsed again. Leaving him, his friend ran to their village called people to help. A number of men soon arrived and carried the boy back to the village. His father, Mishilyeki ran to the mission to call me. I went with our Toyota Land Cruiser to retrieve Loishiye from the village and take him to our mission hospital here at Endulen where he is slowing recovering from his ordeal.

Till next month,
Ned

November 2010

Endulen Diary
Vol. 25, #3
November, 2010

Maasai girls at risk as high school closes for the year

A number of the girls have come to stay with us here at Endulen. They are in danger of being forcibly married off during leave time. Also there is the danger of getting pregnant since young girls often end up sleeping with the warriors and there is little they can do about it. Peer pressure is as much a factor here as it is in Europe and America.

Spiritan Maasai missionaries meet in Endulen

Good discussions took place when Tanzanian and expatriate Spiritans met in Endulen. It was a meeting of the twice-yearly gathering of Spiritan Maasai missionaries. There were good debates as to the best ways of welcoming the Maasai people into church life. Things like using Maasai language, music and prayer forms received a mostly unanimous thumb up. Other things like blessing with milk during church celebrations were more controversial. During the gathering, we celebrated the mass in the Maasai style that we use here in the Conservation Area of Ngorongoro. The reaction seemed to be mixed. We are working toward a meeting of the minds so that eventually we can have common ways of doing things. There were shared meals and an evening of good talk. I think that all of us are looking forward to our next meeting.

Water tax burdens the poor

Just this week the water committee of the village has looked into the deteriorating state of our water point at the village spring. A couple of years ago, with the help of Ngorongoro Conservation, a water point was constructed with water taps gravity fed from the Oldagum spring below the village of Endulen. This has worked out pretty well. All the people of the village go to the water point with their buckets to draw water and wash their cloths close by. We have a trailer and twenty plastic containers of six gallons each that I load on our trailer behind the land cruiser and fill up at the spring three times a week. The faucets get a lot of hard wear and usually last only a few months. Our water group has determined that the faucets now need replacement and have decreed that each of us in the village pay 2,000/= shillings to underwrite the repairs and new faucets. Since the levy represents only about $1.75, it is no hardship for most people. This is not the case for a significant group of single women and widows with children, whose only income is from the firewood they cut each day in the forests, carry a number of miles and sell in the village for less than a dollar. Paying the water contribution represents two days wage. This is very hard for them, since food already takes most of the little that they earn.

Yawning, hiccoughs sneezing, and illness:

When Maasai yawn, they are said to be about to doze off and in the case of small children, they are held lest they fall into the fire. If a small child yawns, his mother grasps his mouth between her fingers to prevent it stretching and become permanently big. Big wide mouths are not prized among the Maasai.

If a person has hiccoughs, it is believed he will have the good fortune of soon eating some succulent meat. When person sneezes, he might say to himself, ÒSomebody is calling me. Someone might is likely to say, ÒMay God make your head hard. When a person falls sick, it is said to be GodÕs sickness.

Goat got into the outhouse and OOPS!

The rains have come with some very heavy downpours weakening the foundations of our outhouse. Our mission here sits on some very porous volcanic soil. Whenever it rains our roads in and out are reduced to a quagmire and nothing moves. The wood floor of the outhouse has shifted in the mud and the hole has widened. An unlucky goat found his way into the outhouse and fell down the hole. He has been extracted no worse for the experience except for a clinging smell that doesn’t seem to want to go away. Even other goats are avoiding the unfortunate one. We have now renewed the outhouse floor with logs that we have cut in the forest on the mountain above Endulen.

Till next month,
Ned

October 2010

Endulen Diary
Vol. 25, #2
October, 2010

Electric razor Bee attack, ideas welcome:

During the summer while on home leave I got myself an electric razor
so that I could keep shaving during recovery from carotid artery
surgery. It was so easy to use and did such a good job that I have
continued to use it even after the time that I needed to be free of
razor blades. Returning to Endulen and using the electric razor each
morning I find that the particular frequency of the razor sound
resonates positively with our resident bee population. Every year the
house here becomes the home to a couple of hives of bees. They
build in the walls and happily make their honey and do whatever else
bees do without disturbing us. On the first day back using the razor, I noticed bees exiting the wall of my room and taking a markedly
unwelcoming interest in my morning routine. Turning off the razor
prompted my visitors to return to their home within the walls. Now I go to the furthest part of the house from our resident bees to shave. If anyone knows a way to change the sound frequency of an electric
razor, please let me know.

Lememakwa Olekotonakaya graduated the University of Dar es
Salaam on the twenty third of October with a degree in Economics.
He will be taking up job at Ngorongoro Conservation. Lememakwa
has been part of our Osotua Maasai Education Program for many
years, having been with us since the early years of primary school.
His wife Narropil, whom he married just two months ago, is also one
of my students and now a Clinical Officer (Physicians Assistant.)
Narropil is now doing a degree in counseling at Tumaini University at
Iringa in Southern Tanzania. She hopes to use her psychological
counseling skills to help the AIDS victims that later on will be part of her medical practice.

Cattle market day:

The cattle market took place this week. We have them twice a month
and these days bring together the Maasai people from their far-flung
cattle camps to meet, “eat the news”, and maybe share a roasted leg
of goat and a bottle of beer. It is a very special day for people whose lives are much the same from day to day, interrupted only now and then by a lion attack on their herds or the need to put out a brush fire.

The cattle market is also a place to buy needed foodstuffs like corn,
salt, sugar and tea leaves. Often people meet who have not seen one
another for months or even years. Marriage arrangements too are
often carried forward at the cattle markets, where people can meet
their in-laws.

Sins of our fathers:

I don?t know how to analyze this. A group of young men, warrior age
group, from our various church outstations, are having religious
gatherings in various places to ?bless the land?. They are saying that
there is an underlying reason for the ever increasing poverty among
the Maasai and the perceived threat of losing their grazing lands here
at Ngorongoro. They are saying that the blood spilled by the Maasai
long ago, when the Maasai people virtually ruled East Africa has
brought a kind of curse on the Maasai. These young people are
preaching this and holding gatherings to bless the land and remove
the curse. It seems to me that this is one more indication that the
Maasai are in crisis, pressured by hunger and the threat of being
moved out of their traditional pastoral lands of Ngorongoro.

Till next time?

Ned

September 2010

Endulen Diary
Vol. 25, #1
September, 2010

Medical issues have occupied me for most of this year. In June I went to the states for medical checkups and extensive dental work. That stuff went on for most of my time at Hemet California, our retirement place in the states and where I spent my three-month leave. The medical stuff finally ended after the final procedure that was carotid artery surgery. Hemet is desert country with stark rocky mountains to the East. I am told that during the winter months there is snow on the upper slopes of the mountains and swimming weather in Hemet down below. It is a beautiful place and the Spiritans there were very welcoming.

After the time in Hemet there were two weeks with my family in Northern Vermont on Lake Champlain. Members of my family live or have summer camps at Hathaway Point on St. Albans Bay. We had some great days sailing on the lake. The wind during the week following Hurricane Earl was strong and made for some exciting moments.

Last week I traveled here to Tanzania and arrived home in Endulen on Thursday. The dry season has come to the Ngorongoro highlands with a vengeance. It is dry as bone now and if one had not been here for the wet season, it would be hard to believe Endulen could have been green just a few months ago. The Maasai have little milk during the dry season and many people have none. Everyone depends on corn to get them through this very difficult time. The price of corn has risen astronomically since the last harvest that was meager in most areas. Now we are paying six dollars for a five-gallon tin of corn and almost another dollar to get it ground into flour. This is presenting a tremendous hardship for people who must sell something to get cash money. There is no milk to sell and to come up with a goat for market is very difficult for most people. The inevitable solution is to share. One family might have a little flour today and share it with a neighbor that has none. Tomorrow the situation could be reversed, but at best, it is a pretty precarious way to live for a family and especially one with small children. So many things have been tried over the years, for example jewelry making groups of the women. The problem with jewelry making is marketing. Where is the stuff to be sold and if a market can be found, how to get it there on a regular basis. Another undertaking that has been tried is to create a corn grinding cooperative of the women. Experience has shown that maintenance is a big issue because spare parts and expertise at repair are both in short supply.

Nairorie died during my home leave. He was one of my former students and a very bright young man. It seems that chronic malaria with some chest complications had him in and out of the hospital for some weeks and he gradually weakened and some kind of fever pushed his already damaged constitution over the edge and he died at the age of 22. It is a real loss for our village.

An old man, Kengwele, just came to say hello and we had a cup of tea on the front porch. He tells me that his village is feeling the pressure of the dry season and they have moved their cattle up into the lands just short of the Ngorongoro forest. His son, Kimani, whom I sponsored at our Spiritan Secondary graduated late last year and has been unable to find a job. Kengwele brought me a letter from Kimani to say that he has found work at Oldupai Gorge with Ngorongoro Conservation. He doesn’t say what he is doing, but jobs with Conservation are great. They generally pay well and once hired the positions can last for many years with regular promotions and pay increases. So many of secondary school graduates these days find it impossible to get hired. There are just too few jobs and many secondary school leavers looking for them.

Kristofa, an electricion at our local mission hospital has his home some seven hours walk from Endulen at the base of the rift wall on the shores of Eyasi. His wife’s mother, a elderly grandmother, has her home on her family farm there. The lands around the lake are irrigated by the springs high up on the rift wall and produce abundant harvest of some of the best onions in all of Tanzania. During harvest lorries take this very lucrative crop to all parts of Northern Tanzania. The farms are handed down from generation to generation and seldom does land in that rich area come up for sale. Kristofa’s grandmother inherited her farm from her husband and she divided it in half, giving one part to her son and the other half she divided among her daughters. The new laws in Tanzania allow female children the same inheritance rights as their male siblings. The fact of not inheriting the entire farm has rankled the son. He has had the conviction that the whole of the “shamba” should be his and has made no secret of his deep resentment and anger towards his mother and sisters. His deep-seated animosity boiled over the day before yesterday when he set fire to the house of his mother during the night, burning to death his mother and six children that were sleeping with her in the house. Endulen is still in shock. How could this have happened? The young man is now in police custody.

On my arrival here in Endulen twenty-five years ago, there were two vehicles, the Toyota land cruiser of the hospital and my land rover. At this writing, there are more than twenty five vehicles belonging to various people here at Endulen village. This week we had a traffic accident. The double cab pick up of the hospital crashed into the land rover of a local Maasai trader. No one was hurt but the cars were badly crunched. Maybe the time has come for a traffic light in our village. If so, it would be only the second one in all of Northern Tanzania.

Till next time,
ned

December 2009

Endulen Diary
Vol. 24, #12
December, 2009

First Days of Narropil Sironga at Tumaini University

MY LIFE AT IRINGA

Iringa is one of the regions in Southern Tanzania. It is a rocky southern highland area. Our university is located at Iringa municipal council. Indigenous people living in Iringa region include the Wahehe, Wabena and Wakinga. Economic activities undertaken in this region include agricultural crop production (especially maize production), small business activities and plank tree projects for production of trees for construction activities. This region is quite different from Arusha region where I used to live. Iringa town is relatively smaller compared to Arusha town, it is an older town established during the colonial era. You can still find very old type buildings constructed by the Germans while they were ruling in Tanzania a century years ago. This is a very hot season for Iringa, it is said that during May and June it will be very cold. A lot of terrifying thunderstorms usually happen when it rains; I am very much afraid of thunderstorms, I used to hide in my room when it rains. There are a lot of mosquitoes especially during the night. I have a mosquito net which helps me to get rid of the stubborn mosquitoes when I sleep. But when I get out of the net for making my study revision I have to wear the tracksuits and long socks to protect myself from mosquito bites.

Tumaini University Is owned by the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Tanzania. Tumaini University, Iringa University College is blessed to have a very large number of students, thousands of them having different behaviors and cultures. English and Swahili languages are the tools of our communications; otherwise every individual has her or his own vernacular language. Many girls wear very short and tight clothes which are not common in village life or in our culture. I find their wearing styles awkward but I am learning cross cultural styles and therefore I have to enjoy the cultural differences, we are taught in one of our studies that no culture is superior to the other.

Lecturers (Teachers) at Tumaini University, Iringa University College, teach nicely and they are really helping in developing our academic excellence. They give us a lot of assignments and library tasks. This is very different from what I used to observe at Machame Clinical Officers training College where we used to study only subjects related to health issues of a human being. We are being taught so many subjects here at Tumani University Iringa Campus which includes Communication Skills, Developmental Psychology, Introduction to Psychology, Interpersonal Skills, Conflict Management, Counseling Skills and Information Computer Technology. At first, I had to learn how to look for materials in a multidisciplinary library such as our University library which is having a lot of books for different courses. I have learned how to use the library by learning the international classification of books so us to be able to locate books relevant to my studies. I have also learned how to use internet at the library for searching online academic materials. However, the internet is not very good since it is not fast for searching, sometimes the Universal Resource Locator (URL) is not available and as a result it becomes difficult to get online materials.

After studying introduction to the counseling courses, I have realized that it is a very good course for me. It will help me to understand better about myself (my weakness and strength) and how to improve my capabilities. It also helps me to understand the behavior of different individuals (Psychology) and how to help people in different life situations. Counseling is there to direct me on how to live with people in the community and the way of helping them when there is a need. It is therefore true that counseling has opened a new page in my life. I will study hard so as to pass well my studies and become a professional counselor so as to be able to help people in the community since human beings have a lot of needs which requires psychotherapy assistance, they don’t only need hospital drugs. Sometimes individuals become sick due to conflicts within themselves for example some interpersonal or intra personal conflicts can cause someone to poison herself or himself by taking poisonous chemicals, these persons can only be assisted through psychotherapy by helping them to know how to solve their problems and not escape them by killing themselves through poisons.

Apart from class works I also attend other extracurricular activities. I am the member of the church choir for which I used to meet with my fellows at least twice per week. I have also been selected to be a leader of Tumaini University Catholic Women Association. I attend morning prayers during the days of the week from Monday to Friday and the Holly Mass on Sunday which takes place at 7:00 am and ends at 9:00am. After the church service we used to visit our friends and sometimes the sick. We also go to the market to purchase some materials for use at home.

I live in a small room in a hostel. I have a bed, a table for studying, book shelf, dressing table, cupboard, two chairs and a gas cooker. Within a room there is a toilet and bathroom constructed together. I used to cook for myself at evening and during the afternoon I eat food at the cafeteria on the University campus since the classes proceed so frequently to the extent that no time to step out for food at home.

Till next month,

ned

November 2009

Endulen Diary
Vol. 24, #11
November, 2009

Lesiniga and Lingiria take a Bad Trip

In 1994 my older brother Lingiria and I found places in a land rover bound for Arusha town. I had never been out of Endulen and Lingiria was taking me to begin my studies as a carpenter at technical school. On arriving in Arusha we were dropped at the local bus stand and climbed on a small bus taking in the direction of Tengeru where my school is located. Climbing down from the bus, Lingiria decided to take a short cut to the school. We ended up hopelessly lost. Walking along the lonely path, we were joined by two robbers with macheties who forced us to go along with them. Presently, we noticed a black bag on the side of the road . My brother told the robber that we could share the money and he agreed. The thieves forced us onto and other small bus that took us to a place totally strange to us. Nearby there was a half built house in the bush. Many people came with swords and macheties. They were the friends of the theives. They did not hurt us but took all our school fees and everything else that we had. After they took everything they went away leaving us.

Graduation day ends of tears

In October Osinoni school celebrated graduation day. The day included lots of songs and dances by the students, endless speeches by local government notables, teachers and others. Finally there was the eagerly anticipated food and drink. People began to disperse and without warning the women began to cry out and throw themselves on the ground in sorrow and despair. Naishiro Karistian, a young mother, still a child herself had given birth and was losing a great deal of blood. There was no car to be had anywhere nearby to take her to the hospital and the young girl bled to death. Graduation day ended in great sorrow. Naishiro was known and liked by everyone.

Elephant attack

In the area of Mbarway some five kilometers from the mission here at Endulen, there is rich green grass and plenty of water. Three young boys, Siwandet, Konina and Oldikaiyai regularly pasture the cattle of their families there, although along with the grass is a lot of heavy bush hiding numerous wild animals. One day OleKereto, a game leged Maasai medicine man was walking there to check on his cattle herded by the three boys. He came upon an elephant who without warning changed him. With his bad leg, he could not run fast and spread eagled on the ground clutching tufts of grass for what small security they could provide. All the while yelling for help. People came running and chased the elephant away. OleKereto came through without a scratch.

Blows averted

Last week the lorry of Manu was taking people to the cattle market of Osinoni. There were ten Maasai, three mangati and one total stranger in the bed of the lorry, each paying a couple of dollars for the ride to the market. One mang’ati woman was riding in a car for the first time and she was very afraid. One Maasai woman,taking sheep oil and corn to sell at Osinoni told ther to sit on a container of rendered liquid sheep fat and hold on tight to the side of the lorry. The container broke and the oil was lost but for a couple of liters. The Maasai lady demanded that the husband of the Mangati lady pay for the oil. After some heated argument the man agreed to pay for the lost oil.

Cattle sickness causes many people to get sick

When Kalai was going around to the villages teaching at Osinoni, he met with the family of Olekatika. One of their cows had just died. They cut up the dead cow and were sharing out the meat with their neighbors. They began to eat and then they began to get sick one after another and also their neighbors began to all get sick. Everyone was saying let us call a car to get help before we all die. The hospital car came and took many people to the hospital. Many were very sick but got help in time and all recovered. It is still unclear to me what sickness caused the people to get sick.

Cattle rustling

We were herding our cattle on the rift wall near Olpiro. The cries of wamang’ati were heard in the valley. Many Wamang’ti came running. They screamed that the Maasai had stolen their cattle. And the warriors of the mang’ati took off to follow their stolen cattle. They follow the tracks a long way in the mountains. The tracks took them near the village of a medicine man, OleMangi. The police were called and came to ask Mangi if he had seen the cattle. He said no. The Mang’ati came as far as the stream of Mbarway. The warriors had weapons of every kind to make war on the Maasai. The police separated the two war parties but hatred grew between the two groups. There came a big meeting between the Maasai and Mang’ati. Endulen people were accused of taking part in the theft of the cattle. But it was discovered that a raiding party from Kenya had done the deed.

Times are a changing

Ndiyene tells the story that when they were warriors many years ago, they often hunted lions in the bush. At that time the Conservation authority was not following up on this stuff as they do now. He says that they met a lion on the plain of Osinoni. They hunted and fought with the lion for nine hours. Finally they killed the lion and sang and danced to their villages with their trophies. The warriors were met at by the girls who sang songs of praise and found milk for the triumphant warriors. After this the Ndiamama who was injured by the lion was cared for and recovered.

People know what they want

This month during the time we were going around to the villages teaching we came to Narok Soito and met with people who had not heard of the gospel. These were of the village OleSitea. We went to teach at night. I met the elders outside the village where one was preparing a spear for taking his cattle to pasture. We began to eat the news. He asked me who I was the son of and I told him. He asked what I wanted and I told him that I had come to teach the gospel at his village. The elders said that they were not ready to listen to our teaching. So we went away. One man in the village wanted to listen to us, so we went to talk with him and his family.

Problem of the most favored machine solved

At Osinoni there are four machines to grind corn. But there is just one machine that the women like. This one machine produces good flour and more than the others but it was very slow to grind and so had good points and bad points. The owners of the other machines were angry and envious that the one machine got all the business. They thought the owners of the popular machine were using witchcraft to bring people to their machine. It turns out that the good machine was using a finer screen and produced better tasting maize flour.

Till next month,
Ned

October 2009

Endulen Diary
Vol. 24, #10
October, 2009

People are more and more left to sink or swim on their own.
On a recent morning Lemalali together with his small son Mpising drove their cattle to the Oldugum stream to drink. On the way, one of the cows fell into a small ravine and due to the soft dirt on the banks, could not climb out. Lemalai, walking some distance ahead of the cattle and talking with a friend that he had met on the way, did not notice. Mpising he was focused on throwing stones at a troop of baboons, so he also did not notice that the cow was missing. Another Maasai man coming along the same path came upon the cow in trouble got behind it and pushed. Out came the cow without a hitch. The stranger followed along with the freed cow and met Lemelali and his son at the stream. On meeting Lemalali, who had just realized he was missing one of his milk cows, he explained what he had done and strongly suggested that he was entitled to some gourds of local beer for his trouble. The Maasai say: Teneishir inkishu, naa ilewa eishiru. When the cattle are hurting, the Maasai people hurt along with them. From time immemorial anyone coming upon a cow having fallen into a gully or water hole would pull the animal out. He wouldn’t think of asking for anything in return for his help. Nowadays it is different. When one helps, the ordinary thing is to ask for food or local beer in return. More and more, it seems that cooperation and mutual help is out and it is everyone for himself or herself.

Husband and wife troubles:

A certain husband beats his wife regularly because he accuses her of adultery whenever she is seen talking to a man. This is being talked about everywhere around Endulen. Even when she goes for firewood, he says that she is meeting her lovers. When she goes to the shops, to draw water, or to cut firewood, he says that she is looking for her lovers. Each day her husband returns home early with the cows and goats so that he can question her about where she has been and accuse her of having been with her lovers. She has become afraid of leaving the village to go anywhere or to do anything normal because of being accused as soon as she is out of the sight of her husband. What will she do? She has no recourse and the people don’t know how she can be helped because she is under the authority of her husband and doesn’t have a way out.

Nocturnal encounter.

Last week, a certain man left his village at night and went to his friend. After visiting his friend, he got up and said that he was going back home. Maybe I will meet my wife with her lover, he told his friend. When he was nearing home, he met a lion. The lion chased him and he climbed a tree. The lion stayed at the base of the tree till morning preventing him from coming down from the tree. At dawn he was able to leave the tree and continued on home.

No more gardens.

This month cultivation and people were forbidden to have gardens of any kind anywhere within the Conservation Authority of Ngorongoro. It is reported that in the Nainokanoka area where Maasai have gardens of potatoes and tobacco, there were clashes with the police and a number of people needed hospital treatment.

Till next month,
Ned