Vol. 20, #10
As the year ends…
Our Osotua program has 80 Maasai boys and girls in secondary, college level, and technical Schools, 40 girls and 30 boys. Among these are three girls in Teacher training college, one girl in the Assistant Medical officer course, three girls in hotel management school, and one girl just graduated from law school. We also have ten, five girls and five boys in our Pre-Form One prep school program here in Endulen.
In the New Year we’ll be sending eleven more girls and nine more boys to secondary and technical schools. Congratulations and thanks to all of you out there who are helping make this program possible.
On Christmas day…
We slaughtered a cow and cooked a gunny sack of rice for Christmas. There were crowds of Maasai people with much singing and dancing. It was a huge celebration and I am very happy that it is over.
Afternoon in a Maasai village…
Often flies are very troublesome in Maasai villages. When the cows leave the village, all the flies return home. It happens that when you look at children and women it is as if they are carrying colonies. When you look at the mouths and eyes of the children, you would say they have beards because of the flies. That is why eye disease is so common among the Maasai. In the afternoon, when the sun begins to lose some of its ferocity, the women go to cut firewood. As evening approaches the goats, sheep and calves arrive home and the women guide them into pens. When the cows arrive and everyone is very busy, husbands may become annoyed at lazy wives who do not quickly free the calves to suck at the udders of their mothers. When the women begin milking, they first throw upwards some milk with lids of their milking gourds as a prayer to God. Some women sing to the cows to calm them during milking. When a cow’s calf dies, they coax here to give milk with a dummy calf made from the skin of her dead calf stuffed with grass. A calf whose mother has died will be fed milk and boiled herbs with a funnel sewed from skins. When the women finish the milking, they feed the children. The older people then have their food. Their diet varies little. Normally the Maasai drink milk and eat only gruel made from corn flour.
Later the children gather to sing and dance and play games like “kill the charcoal,” where something is hidden and then all must look for it. Often the children sit together and tell stories. The old men sit together and discuss. If there is a family that has slaughtered, the boys go to eat meat together. It is in the evening that children go to their grandmothers who tell them stories and legends of long ago. The boys go to their grandfathers who tell them of wars that they fought and the cattle they captured.
During the dry season, men sit up very late outside the houses discussing the news. Little children go to sleep very early, but boys sit up very late. If the locality is dangerous, men do not sleep heavily, so that if animals attack at night, they can defend the cattle.
During the frequent times of drought and sickness among the herds, there is much work in the villages. If there is little milk, they shoot cattle in the neck with a blocked arrow and draw blood for cooking and eating. The children know about the cattle troubles and droughts suffered by the Maasai. Their fathers and mothers tell them about the history of their people while they sit together talking in the evening before they go to sleep.
Till next month….Ned