Vol. 20, #5
Gathering ends in sadness…
Bulati is a very very isolated area of the highland area on the far side of Ngorongoro Crater. Since it is on the almost inaccessible Eastern rim of Mbakai Crater, no outsider ever visits there. Mbakai is an incredibly beautiful wooded crater whose bottom is entirely taken up with a lake populated the year round with flamingoes. The Maasai say the lake is bottomless. Nearby at Bulati we were in the midst of a service in our small Maasai Christian community. Just about the time the gifts of bread, wine, milk and butter were being brought to the altar in procession, we heard the movement of many people and the sounds of excited voices outside our mud walled grass roofed church. Fearing some calamity was taking place we stopped our Eucharistic celebration and all trooped outside to see what was going on. A young warrior lay on a roughly made stretcher of cow skin stretched across saplings. About fifty of his age mates stood around the motionless figure. The warrior had been gored by a buffalo some three hours walk to the East in the heavily wooded mountains. He had been on a honey collecting expedition with other young men and had surprised a bull buffalo in a thicket. Giving the warrior no chance for retreat, the buffalo charged hooking his horn through one side of the warrior’s lower abdomen and out the other side. A good portion of his intestines came out with the horn. Hours later they reached Bulati on their expected two day trek to the nearest hospital. Surprisingly enough, he was still very much alive and even able to talk, but of course in deep shock and a lot of pain. We were in luck having the jeep there and after finishing our service we put him in the car on the laps of three of his warrior friends. The two hour trip back to my base outstation here at Nainokanoka was a nightmare. We traveled slowly but the “road” is just a track through the forest and across the flatland. The way very bumpy, pitted with potholes and strewn with rock. He groaned constantly at the erratic movements of the car. Arriving at Nainokanoka, we call the offices of the Conservation authority on the other side of Ngorongoro Crater for help. They sent aToyota Land Cruiser fitted out as and ambulance. He was still able to speak a little as we loaded him in the Conservation car some hours later. The young man lived for only a short time after finally arriving at the hospital some six hours later.
Lekishon tell his story…
My name is Emanuel Lekishon Shangai. I was born at Endulen village but in 1985 we moved to Alamunyani because of the long drought that resulted in many of our cattle dying. I grew up in a poor family. Our cattle were raided by the Sukuma in 1982. Due to the loss of our cattle and the fact that cultivation was not allowed in the Conservation Authority of Ngorongoro, we made the move to Alamunyani. There we cultivated a small plot using a hand hoe. In 1992 the small scale cultivation was again allowed in the Endulen area of the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority and we moved back to Endulen and acquired a small plot for cultivation. In 1991 I had been enrolled in the primary school at Arash near Alamunyani. These places are on the North side of the Serengeti and outside the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority. In 1994, having completed grade 4, I transferred to the Endulen primary school where I completed my primary education in 1997. In 1998, I joined Osotua Prep School and began to realize the possibilities for my life and the importance of education from Fr. Ned and the teachers there. I studied for a year at Osotua where I got a lot of experience from different teachers, especially Mwalimu Moinga Ikayo, a most kind and knowledgeable teacher.
In 1999, I got a place at Kilimanjaro Boys Secondary School and completed Form IV there in 2002. When the results were published I found myself on the list of those that had passed and been chosen to go on to Form V. I looked for a scholarship to continue, but was not successful in getting one. I went to Mwanza on Lake Victoria hoping to find a job as a security guard, but the pay offered was so poor that I didn’t take the job and continued to look here and there for a job to enable me to pay for my continued studies. Nothing materialized and I finally returned to Endulen very much discouraged. In 2004 Fr. Ned was in a position to help me again and I went back to Kilimanjaro Boys for Form V & VI. I am now just beginning Form VI that I hope to complete this year. My dream is to go on to University. I give thanks for our beloved father and all those who work with him to help me and other Maasai young people. I want to tell to all Maasai boys and girls that nothing can be impossible in the world if you work hard and don’t give up…..Lekishon Shangai
Till next month….Ned