Volume 14, #5
Birika and his fifty wives host meeting of Maasai Leaders:
A summit of the Maasai leadership in North Maasai land took place on the fifth and sixth of June near Endulen. Maasai leaders in government from the district and village levels took part, age group and clan leaders, our three Maasai priests for whom the North of Maasai country is home, and Maasai leaders from the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority took part. The meeting was hosted by the principal Maasai Laibon, the main traditional religious leader of the North. The village of Birika, with his more than fifty wives and well over a hundred children is at Esirua some five miles from the Endulen trading center. The Maasai people of the North collected almost a thousand dollars to put on the two day event. Three oxen were slaughtered and many bags of rice were prepared.
More than three fourths of the educated Maasai leaders present at the meeting were products of out education program, either of our Osotua Education for Leadership program or the efforts of missionaries who preceded me here or in Loliondo, our other Northern Maasai mission.
The primary outcome of the meeting was a new council of Maasai leaders for Northern Maasai country. It will have the special function of dealing with the threatened take over of Maasai grazing land by tourist hotel builders, and the take over of large tracks of land for cultivation by outside interests. The council will consist of fifty one people, 12 traditional elders, 24 educated Maasai men and 18 Maasai women. The council will have it’s first meeting in October to discuss the projected take over by a hotel company of a large track of land in North Maasai country.
Netball court for our Osotwa Prep School Girls:
We are working on a basketball court for the girls here on the compound. They need some activities to keep them occupied during their leave time. We’ve cut long cedar poles in the forest and made hoops by cutting up plastic buckets. Now we are doing a little leveling of the court. The girls play this game at their various schools.
Impromptu Sewing classes begun:
One of our girls, who has completed a tailoring program at technical school, has started informal classes here on the compound aimed at teaching the girls on leave how to use a sewing machine. She, Neema, is using our two treadle sewing machines to teach the girls how to do simple repairs on their clothing.
Endulen a riot of wild flowers:
The fields and woods around us are fill with yellow wild flowers, the sign the the rains are finished for another year and the cold season is upon us. Although our winter means temperatures in the 60’s (about 20 C.) at the lowest in the early morning and evening. During the day, it is usually in the 80’s and 90’s (between 30 and 40 C.).
Meat hungry seminarians abduct pig:
Thirteen boys who have just finished Form IV (Seniors in High School) in our diocesan secondary school seminary have been thrown out of school. They stole a pig from the school farm and spirited it away into the forest. They slaughtered, roasted and finished off the entire porker at one sitting. Evidently a prolonged siege of their usual boring fare of red beans prompted the daring daylight raid on the piggery and ham feast. Since Maasai put pig eating in the same category as snake and frog consumption, there were no Endulen students among the culprits.
Drive by Sighting:
This week on our way across the plains to a village for a meeting with the people, we met two lions sleeping in the middle of the track. They heard the car when we got up close, jumped up and ran into the bush. These were very different than the lions one meets in the crater. The crater lions are so used to cars, you practically have to run over their tails before they show any sign of being aware of your presence.
Thunder and the Gods (Maasai Story):
Once there were two gods: the black god and the red god. The black god was very humble, kind and loving, while the red god was malevolent and did not care about the people at all. These gods lived together way up in heaven, but the black god lived below the red god, and therefore closer to the people on earth.
One day famine spread all over the world. Cattle could find neither grass to eat nor water to drink and they were almost dying from starvation. Then the black god spoke to the red god and said “Let us give people water for they are about to starve to death.” The red god was at first reluctant to let people have water, for he had no liking for them, but after much pleading from the black god, he relented. It was then agree that water was to be released from heaven to earth. When this was done, it rained very hard for many days.
After some time, the red god said to the black god: You can now hold back the water, for the people have had enough.” The black god answered: Let us leave it for a few more days for the earth has been parched dry.” This was done, and when the red god again told the black god to hold back the water, he did so and the rain stopped falling.
A few more days elapsed and the black god once more asked the red god to release some more water for the people. The red god refused, and there ensued an argument between them, with the red god threatening to wipe out all the people, whom he described as having been spoilt, and the black god struggling to prevent him from doing so. And so, up to this day, when one hears loud thunder, it is the red god who is trying to get past the black god to wipe out the people on earth. But when the sound of thunder is not very loud, it is the black god who is trying to prevent the red god from killing the people.