This past weekend I traveled with Bishop Nixon Dingili, his wife Neddy, Rev. Hawkins Mugiya, Rev. Javan Kinandi and his wife Margaret, and Jake Sebok (Visa Volunteer). We went “up country” to a place that you certainly won’t find listed on FB’s 100 places you should visit before you die..a little bush village called Lorian in Samburu.
We have two churches in the Samburu area and the pastors from those churches were being ordained. We also had a chance to meet with the widows from those churches…some of whom I had met when they traveled many hours last October, to come to Nairobi for a conference. It was fun to see them again and see how they were doing.
Samburu is about 7-8 hours from Nairobi–with the last hour and 45 minutes of traveling being on pretty tough roads. (Thankful for the prado that is built for such a drive as this). We arrived mid-afternoon at Pastor Peter’s house. Pastor Peter’s “house” is a mud/stick/rock structure, 3 rooms (2 bedrooms, one room to entertain guests), in the middle of the “bush”. In fact, some of the driving included making our “own” path–just pick a spot where you think the car will fit and drive through it. There are usually not many (or any) cars that come out this direction. Peter’s compound or yard is surrounded by a thistle bush fence to keep unwanted animals from waltzing in. What kind of unwanted animals you ask? 🙂 Keep reading….
While sitting and enjoying the customary cup of chai tea, (made with goat’s milk)..we noticed lots of children running through the bush headed to the little church building just beyond the compound. We finished our chai and headed over for service. It was a welcome service for us–the children were singing with their beautiful voices, and the women were standing behind them dancing as only Samburians and Massai can do! (the Samburu tribe and Massai tribe are like “cousins”..similar, but not quite the same). I wish I could demonstrate for you–but even if I did, it would only make you laugh and not give you the real picture of their traditional dancing. We were together for quite some time, singing, doing introductions and praying together. I loved it! Sometime in there it had started to rain…and though we were inside, the rain was coming in and some of us were still getting soaked. Such is life…in Samburu.
Samburu’s have warriors, called Morans (more-ran), who are trained from around the age of 15, to protect their communities from all sorts of dangers–enemies, wild animals, etc. Once they are trained, they do not live in their mother’s home again–in fact, they live in the bush..sleeping out under the stars, keeping an eye on things that might threaten their families. Once they marry, they live in their own home and start a family of their own. Our single guy on this trip, Jake, had a chance to become a Moran warrior–for a few minutes. His transformation into a Moran was enjoyed by all. I’m sure he would have loved sleeping out under the stars that night!
I stayed in Peter’s house, in fact, he and his wife gave up their bedroom and bed–which is typical when they have guests. Peter slept on the floor in the sitting room, Jake slept in the other room. Peter warned us that he would be getting up on occasion to patrol the compound and scare off any leopards and hyenas (remember those wild animals!?) who were after the goats! But he assured us we would be safe. I slept well, but I did hear him get up! I was tempted to peek out the window and see what I could see. This was truly an unexpected adventure.
There were a lot of things like this that were for me, “exciting” and adventurous, but then I remembered this is LIFE for them. This isn’t fun or exciting…this is how they live. Peter, who is a great story teller even if I couldn’t understand his mother tongue, told us how once a leopard snatched a goat and when he discovered the goat was gone, he tracked the leopard…all the way to the distant hills, found the goat in a tree (the leopard wasn’t around)…climbed the tree and took the goat back for his family to eat. Because he had also been trained as a warrior, I’m sure he would have fought the leopard if it had shown up to compete for the goat. This was food for his family and he wasn’t going to give it up easily.
There is a food shortage because there is a water shortage in the area. The women get up very early in the morning to go to a spring about 2 hours away, to get water (that’s a four hour walk for water!). The first water they bring back goes to the goats–then for the family. They do whatever they can to keep their goats alive be/c they are the best source of income. A goat can feed Peter’s family for two days–but if he’s able to sell it, he can feed his family for a week. Bishop Nixon told me even before we came on this trip that in Samburu, the children don’t ask for money or food from strangers, they ask for water.
It is a tough life and I don’t know many of us who could handle it. But the Lord is bringing change through Pastor Peter and his family. Peter is definitely a change agent in his community–planting corn to help feed his family, sharing the milk from his few goats with a family that doesn’t have any, starting a small preschool in hopes of educating the children so their lives will be different. God transformed Peter’s life 5-6 years ago, and Peter has a desire to see the lives of others be transformed as well.
I love the work/ministry I’m involved with in Nairobi–with ICCM/the Tumaini Women’s NGO, the teams and visitors we have—but something caught in my heart and mind while I was in Samburu. I don’t think God is asking us to move there…that really wouldn’t help them and I don’t think that I can cut it …but I believe God has a way for me to be involved and thought I’m not exactly what that looks like, I know I can trust God to show me.
I feel like I would write more and more about our visit to Samburu–but don’t want this to be too long (the word count is already over 1100!). Do pray for Peter and Charo–the pastors that are ministering to the Samburu tribe. Pray especially for the Lord to provide a viable source of water for them..and that they’ll be able to share the life giving water as well.
Thanks for reading!