Vol. 15, #3
Baraka, who just got back after four months in the hospital to straighten out a leg totally twisted since birth, started first grade this week. They did a masterful job of surgery and he can now walk on both legs, although he has a serious limp. He is very excited about school. Since birth, he has been sidelined because of his crippled leg. His folks asked us to have him live here with us so that he can attend school.
One day last week, I rode my motorcycle to the hospital to visit the sick. I almost ran down a monster wart hog. His teeth must have been fully a foot long. Maybe it was because I was so close to it, but it seemed to be about the biggest I’ve ever seen. Those fangs looked big enough to toss both me and the bike into the bush beside the road. He got out of my way just in time.
The people now have the part of the bean crop that didn’t dry up harvested, but the corn planted during the short rains was a total loss. They’ll have to plant again now that the long rains have begun and hope for some kind of a harvest in July or August.
When I was home in January with my brothers and sisters for my mom’s last illness, I bought a chain saw. For the last couple of years we have been loading very heavy limbs of firewood on the carrier of the land cruiser. The weight has begun to take its toll. The body has developed a few cracks. I took the car to some Indian specialists in Arusha and they repaired and strengthened the body. During my three weeks at home, I bought a chain saw with the idea of cutting logs into short lengths and loading all the firewood into the car, thus saving the body from further damage. This week, my Maasai girls and I went into the forest and filled the car with two foot long chunks of firewood. The chain saw, the smallest I could buy, fit easily into my luggage for the trip back, but it does a job you wouldn’t believe. We were astounded at the job, I as well as the girls, who had never seen a chain saw in action. It was the same kind of feeling of wonder as when we fired up our solar system for the first time
years ago. That chain saw is going to make a big difference in our lives here. It used to take hours to cut sufficient wood with our axes to fill up the car. Yesterday we did it in two hours and the lengths are short so we don’t need to use the carrier any more. Thank you Susan, Art, and Ruthy (my cousins) for your help in choosing and buying the chain saw. We bought just the thing that was needed. It’s great!! We need to carry all our water from the creek, a half a mile away, so easing the difficulty of getting firewood is a big help.
During a recent evening of story telling, Kiraine, one of our Maasai prep school students told a story. I thought you might enjoy hearing it.
THE STORY OF THE HARE AND THE ELEPHANTS.
A hare that lived near a river one day saw some elephants going to the kraals of their fathers-in-law. He said to the biggest one, who was carrying a bag of honey: ‘ Father, ferry me across, for I am a poor person.’
The elephant told him to get on his back, and when he had climbed up, they started.
While they were crossing the river, the hare ate the honey, and as he was eating it, he let some of the juice fall onto the elephant’s back. On being asked what he was dropping, he replied that he was weeping, and that it was the tears of a poor child that were falling. When they reached the opposite bank, the hare asked the elephants to give him some stones to throw at the birds.
He was given some stones, and he put them into the honey bag. He then asked to be set down, and as soon as he was on the ground again he told the elephants to be off.
They continued their journey until they reached the kraal of the big one’s father-in-law, where they opened the honey bag. When they found that the stones had been substituted for the honey, they jumped up and returned to search for the hare, whom they found feeding. As they approached, however, the hare saw them, and entered a hole. The elephants followed him, and the biggest one thrust his trunk into the hole, and seized him by the leg, hereupon the hare said: ‘I think you have caught hold of a root.’ On hearing this, the elephant let go his leg and seized a root. The hare then cried out – You have broken me, you have broken me,’ which made the elephant pull all the harder until at length he became tired.
While the elephant was pulling at the root, the hare slipped out of the hole and ran away. As he ran, he met some baboons, and called out to them to help him. They inquired why be was running so fast, and he replied that he was being chased by a great big person. The baboons told him to go and sit down, and promised not to give him up. The hare entered the baboons’ lair while they sat down outside and waited. Presently the elephant arrived, and asked if the hare had passed that way. The baboons inquired whether he would give them anything if they pointed out the hare’s hiding-place. The elephant said he would give them whatever they asked for, and when they said they wanted a cup full of his blood, he consented to give it to them, after satisfying himself that the cup was small. The baboons then shot an arrow into his neck, and the blood gushed forth.
After the elephant had lost a considerable quantity of blood, he inquired if the cup was not full. But the baboons had made a hole in the bottom, and when the elephant looked at it, he saw that it was still half empty. The baboons jeered at him, and said he had no courage, so he told them to fill the cup.
They continued to bleed him, but still the cup would not fill, and at length he sank exhausted to the ground and died.
The hare having nothing more to fear was then able to leave his hiding-place.
Till next month…….