Vol. 19, #3
A large hyena attacked a woman drawing water at a small stream yesterday afternoon. The brook meanders along the edge of the forest on the mountain overlooking Ngorongoro crater. Namunyak attempted to protect her face and neck with her hands and arms. Fortunately, some warriors nearby heard her frantic cries and came running. They were able to kill the hyena with their spears. Namunyak sustained some very deep bites on her arms and possibly a crushed bone, but is otherwise in good shape. For a hyena to attack a person is very unusual. They are usually afraid of people and keep their distance. People are trying to figure out the meaning of this weird happening.
Two Maasai young men of our Osotua Leadership program have received top marks in the National Form IV (High School) exams. Latang’amuaki Nduala from Malambo of Makumira Secondary School received a Division One with 7 points and Lememakwa OleKotonakaya from Olbalbal of Karatu Secondary School received Division One with 10 points. Both of these young men have been teaching in our “Osotua Pre-Form One” school here in Endulen waiting for their results. They will enter Form V (Junior College) in July.
Maasai men and women numbering over a hundred spent last night on top of Makarot Mountain singing and praying. They came from four of our Christian communities, Mokilal, Longojoo, Kaitekiteng’, Lemuli and Olmisigio. This was something they decided to do during the Lenten season and is reminiscent of traditional pilgrimages of the Maasai to Oldoinyo Le’Ngai, the “Mountain of God” an active volcano in the rift valley. In the morning, they came down from the mountain and we met for a prayer service at Longojoo, overlooking the crater. Although I made the prayer service, I didn’t spend the night on top of the mountain.
Last night in the Longojoo area, a leopard leaped the cattle fence of a Maasai village and killed a sheep. Warriors, alerted by the noise, chased the leopard out of the village. Due to darkness, they were not able to continue tracking the leopard. Early this morning, warriors from the village began tracking the leopard and eventually cornered it in an area of heavy bush some distance from the village. With trepidation, they closed in. In this kind of a situation with a lion or leopard, someone almost always gets hurt when the predator breaks cover. In this instance, they were lucky. Two were able to get their spears into the animal before he reached the ring of warriors.
On the way to one of my outstations on the edge of the Serengeti, we came upon a normally dry river bed. Due to rain in the hills above the rift wall that morning, the river was filled with rushing water, but was receding fast. As we waited for the water to go down, we noticed a Hyena over a dead and bloated eland some distance down the river bank. The eland looked like it had been carried down the river and snagged by something near the bank as the water receded. The eland is the largest gazelle, weighing up to two tons. It is a beautiful animal that often jumps when it runs like an impala. The hyena had eaten hugely and was totally overstuffed. A couple of hitch hiking warriors in the car, jumped down from our and cruiser and approached the hyena brandishing their spears. The belly of the hyena was so swollen with the eland feast that he could hardly move. Even when the warriors arrived a few yards from him, the hyena could only just get up and move away.
A teacher in the local primary school reports that a nine and a half foot snake, green with black spots, was seen entering the house of the head teacher. The troops were mobilized in the form of the school children, grades 2 to 7. Armed with stones, sticks and machetes, they searched the house for five hours, finally cornering the reptile in a pile of firewood. In an effort to flush it out of the wood pile, three gallons of kerosene were eventually poured into the pile of kindling. The snake emerged, much the worse for its five hour ordeal, and was dispatched. Needless to say, many dishes, cooking utensils and other household items were ruined during the snake hunt.
Maasai Proverb of the month:
“Mepal oloitiko isirat lenyena”.
A zebra does not despise its own stripes.
(One must not hate his origins and traditions.)
Till next month… Ned