Vol. 21, #5
The two incidents that I write about this month are pretty depressing with the exception of the help given by the Flying Medical Service. There are good things happening too. Our three girls in teacher training college will finish in a couple of months. Hopefully they will be assigned to Maasai primary schools and we will have three more Maasai teachers for our Maasai children. Also, our two girls at Assistant Medical Officer School at Machame on Mount Kilimanjaro are finishing their first year and are doing well. The names have been changed in the following two incidents.
May 28th, A timely intervention by Pat Patten and his Flying Medical Service
Two brothers had a terrible fight. They are the sons of the same father but are sons of different wives of their father. Some time ago Tiyo, the older of the two, went to Mwanza near Lake Victoria to look for work. When he returned, he found his wife to be pregnant. He questioned his wife as to who got her pregnant and she admitted that it was Takeu, his younger brother. According to Maasai custom, Tiyo was not allowed to do anything to his brother. Although sons of the same father they did not have the same mother. Therefore, Takeu had done nothing wrong in the eyes of the Maasai. Olkiria could not get satisfaction by bringing Takeu up before a council of Maasai elders. He began to look for some other way to get revenge. This week they went together to drink the locally distilled alcohol called enpinyo. The older brother got very drunk and the two began to argue and a screaming match ensued. Takeu struck his brother on the arm with his knobkerrie. The older then struck his brother on the head with his heavy stick. The younger replied by striking the older a terrible blow on the head laying his head open to the bone and cracking his skull. We were called and Fr. Lawrence Ndemeloi picked up the two and took them to our hospital here in Endulen. Tiyo, the older with the cracked skull, did not improve and his situation was getting worse by the hour. Fr. Pat Patten’s Flying Medical Service was called by shortwave radio and Tiyo was airlifted to KCMC hospital in Moshi and remains there in critical condition. Without Pat’s timely intervention Tiyo would have had little chance of survival. Takeu the younger was taken by the police and detained in our local lockup and allowed to continue his treatment as an outpatient at the hospital.
May 7th, When the father of a child makes his daughter pregnant, all the women gather to beat him, but not when he is a Very Important Person
Shortly after arriving at high school on Mount Kilimanjaro, Noonkipa gave birth and tried to hide what had happened by throwing the newborn child into the outhouse. She hoped that her quick action would prevent everyone realizing that she had given birth or had even been pregnant.
Noonkipa is from Losilale here in the Endulen area. She finished seventh grade last year and started her freshman year in high school on Mount Kilimanjaro. When Noonkipa’s mother Nadupa lost her husband some years ago, she attached herself to Lemalali, a local Maasai leader and government official. It was Lemalali who fathered Noonkipa and paid her school expenses in primary school and her tuition when she was accepted into high school on Mount Kilimanjaro.
The other children heard an infant crying in the outhouse and called the head teacher, who ran to the outhouse but was too late to save the small infant. Almost immediately it was clear that the dead child in the outhouse belonged to Noonkipa. After she had recovered a little from her ordeal, she was asked who the father was and she readily gave the name, accusing Lemalali, her mother’s lover.
When Lemalali heard about it, he immediately traveled to Kilimanjaro to talk to Noonkipa, his daughter, and convince her that she must say it was someone else that made her pregnant. But when asked by her mother and brothers who made her pregnant, Noonkipa told the truth that it was her own birth father who had fathered her now dead child. A criminal case has been brought against him the Arusha court.
Among the Maasai when the father of a child makes his own child pregnant, all the women of the area gather and beat the culprit with sticks. He must also give the women a goat that the women eat together. In addition, he is fined a heifer that is given to the mother of the child that gave birth. In this case, because the offender is such an important person, he will not be beaten but must pay the fines.
Till next month,