Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Masai Trip Oletuktuk

April 6-9 Masai     After services and the business meeting in Malindi, Josiah and I loaded up with Karate, his brother and another Masai to start our trip to visit Karate’s family in Ole Tuk Tuk. We have been planning this trip for a while with brother Ernie Hopper. Brother Hopper is working with a church in the Ole Tuk Tuk area already and is closer to the area than we are by about ten hours. We minister to a large number of Masai from the Oletuktuk area who work in Malindi so connecting Brother Hopper with them would present the possibility of ministering to their families also. Karate had a friend he wanted Brother Hopper to meet with also who was wanting to start a church. So this was the purpose of our visit, and also to visit with Karate’s family and continue to build relationship.
    After services we went with Ka
rate by his place with several other Masai and loaded up a boat load of stuff on the Land Rover. Karate was taking several things home as well as carrying  things for others. We had tables, a bed, bicycles, a bucket of lard, a bunch of other house hold items, and a bundle of walking sticks. We were pretty loaded down.There were about fifteen Masai that showed up at Karate’s before we left, most of them have visited us at one time or another. It was good to see everyone. I really love hanging out with the Masai guys. They do not treat wazungu like other tribes do. They are a proud tribe and pretty self reliant. They for the most part are just comfortable with who they are and where they come from. The cool thing is once you are in you are in. The guys around us are always laughing and joking with each other it is just a great environment.
    We drove to Voi on Sunday and got us a half star hotel. Josiah and I gave it a half star because it had a fan. Josiah and I stayed in one room and the guys stayed in the other. We left Voi Monday morning after breakfast and headed towards Taveta. Kleopus told me about a short cut through Kenyatta’s shamba so we would not have to go through Taveta so we gave it a whirl. It was the bush for sure but a beautiful drive and we some how managed not to get lost. We met up with Brother Hopper at Ilasit with the church he is working with there. It was nice to meet the men, have lunch with them, and introduce them to Karate.

    After lunch we all (including Brother Hopper and a Masai pastor from Kajiado) went back to a place called Rombo to stay with Karate’s aunt. It was Karate’s first time to go to his aunts house so it was a big deal for everyone. We met up with Karate’s Aunt and she showed us around Rombo a little before taking us to her house for the evening. It was pouring down rain so it was pretty cool out and a little yucky. First thing once we were in the house was of course MILK. There was fresh or Mala “Aged Butter Milk that has curdled”. Ernie and Josiah had the fresh but I am all over the mala. Especially after I watched Moses shake it up for twenty minutes straight then popped the top on the gourd.

    After the milk we had a chance to introduce ourselves and just hang out. It was obvious that Karate’s aunt and Uncle were pretty well off since they had electricity and a block house. His uncle works for Kenya Power and his aunt was a teacher but now does several private businesses like running a small shop, renting out apartments they had built, she also sews and makes Masai jewelry and clothing. We are used to visiting Karate at his mama’s and she is not well off they just live like normal Masai so this was an interesting experience to meet this side of Karate’s family. I think even for Karate and his brother it was a new experience.
    We sat and watched Christian Masai music videos a lot of the evening and just talked. I brought the Jesus Film in Masai and we watched it also up on the wall. It was a small private viewing but everyone really enjoyed it. Karate’s Aunt Tereshia slaughtered one of their sheep and cooked us an amazing spread of food! Granted it was about 11pm when we finally ate because of the cinema and the visiting. She for sure slayed  the fatted sheep for us and we all feasted. Aunt Tereshia said she wanted us to remember our visit with her and the best way was a feast. We ate a tremendous amount of food!

    After dinner we went to a small guest house that had prepared for us and it was an amazing night of sleep in the cool air coming down from Mount Kilimanjaro. Ernie, Josiah, and I slept in a little despite the rooster crowing and cows mooing. We were up and ready to go by 7 but Karate said we missed the clear view of the mountains at day break because once the sun was up the clouds moved in. We had planned to leave out early to head over to meet up with Karate’s friend to talk about the church he had started and the possibility of working with him but… we spent the morning visiting and trying to break away. We got a small tour and had to take pictures of everyone and of course the cows.

    I got some pretty sweet shots of Josiah in the cow pen. He was not happy about walking around in the urine and manure of the cows especially when it soaked into his shoe. So when you see the pictures below that is why he is not so thrilled. This was one of those trips for Josiah that he hates me during the trip but after wards we laugh and have good stories to tell… Everyone enjoyed dressing Josiah up for a few snaps also. Josiah did well even though he was a bit uncomfortable. I told him to consider how many kids his age would ever get a chance like this to hang out with Masai not as a tourist but as their guest. It was not a lot of comfort in the moment but good memories! Oh and it did not help that all the Masai children and even adults were asking if Josiah was a girl…He was not impressed.

 We finally broke away to head toward Karate’s home area and to visit with his friend. We would have liked to visit more with Karate’s aunt but for time’s sake we had to head out. It really was a great visit. Ernie left some tracts with Karate’s Aunt concerning salvation. She is a very devout Catholic and very active in her church, however she seemed to me to have a testimony of salvation in the way she spoke of the Lord. She is like many that think all churches are alike. Brother Hopper was excited about this relationship and the possibilities in the future.

    We got on the road and started towards Karate’s home. We passed by His friend’s place and spoke to him about the church that he had started and about his faith and teachings. The meeting was not super long but the short of it is that the fella really does not even have a testimony of salvation nor did any of his people that came. He has a Pentecostal background but the Pentecostals in the area will not have much to do with him because he has multiple wives. He is seeking someone, anyone, to help him especially with a building. He had scheduled a meeting with us and with another group later in the month. We gave him some tracts and books on Salvation. We tried to talk a little to him but he really did not want to listen as much as he wanted to talk.
    It was a good introduction meeting and maybe the Lord will open up this opportunity in the future. I told bother Hopper if I were working in the area and lived closer it would be a good opportunity because he says he has a group meeting regularly and they need teaching. However we live so far away there is little to help with from a distance. Hopper is about to leave on furlough for a year so for him to interact with this group it would have to be in the future. This story is played over and over again…opportunities are everywhere but laborers are few! We could put a missionary in the Ole Tuktuk area and give him contacts to multiple families and Christians that need teaching immediately.
    It was a good meeting and Karate said he would followup with the man and even confirm if they are really meeting or not. So even Karate had doubts about the man’s story. Hopper agreed to this portion of the trip because he wanted to respect Karate and we had no idea how close Karate was to this man both relationally and geographically. It turns out that he is an acquaintance of Karate’s and it is pretty far from Karate’s Boma. We will see what happens.
    After our meeting we prayed together and headed to Karate’s. The man we met with I believe went by John also came with us to Karate’s. We were welcomed to Karate’s Boma by the women singing and greeting us. Josiah and I saw several of the guys that have attended our church in Malindi including Saitoti who we have not seen for a long time. Saitoti was back home doing business and was not planning to return to Malindi so it was so good to see him. We have made a few trips now to Karate’s several of the faces were familiar.
    Once we were welcomed by the ladies with singing the ladies passed by and greeted us as well as all the men. Of course after this welcome we sat under a tree and got our cups ready for some Mala! The milk was in abundance this trip so it was on tap anytime we wanted it. We drank up and continued to greet Men as they arrived to include the local Moran warriors. Very quickly Karate came out with a nice sized goat that was to be our supper and the Moran warriors took it outside the Boma to slaughter and roast.
    Ernie, Josiah and I followed and I asked if I could actually slaughter the goat at which they were very happy. On the way to slaughter the goat Ernie thanked me because they were just getting ready to put the Mala milk in his glass and Ernie HATES milk, let alone rotten milk. I got down with the Moran and used my knife to cut the Goats throat.

When the blood started flowing it was captured in a bowl and the Moran immediately passed it around and drank the blood. I did not participate in this I only watched in amazement. It was still warm from coming out of the body.

    After the slaughter Ernie and I returned to the Boma to visit while Josiah remained with the Moran to watch them prepare the goat for roasting and the rest of the food. When we got back to the Boma Saitoti had not forgotten Ernie and his need for milk and lucky me I got another cup… The Mala is chunky so it is a bit hard to swallow not just due to the taste. Hopper said at one point he almost lost it. It was fun to watch him choke it down!

    We took a little tour around the Boma with Karate and even passed by and prayed for a new born baby and his mother. The Masai love their cattle and goats so the tour was really important. It was pretty cool also because Hopper knows about cattle so to him it probably meant more than to me. After our tour we went out to eat our goat that we slaughtered earlier. We ate the meal the traditional Masai way. We gathered into a small circle and the meat was brought from the fire and one man cut it and gave it out to each of us as we ate. The first thing was the Liver… then some ribs, and the tender lion… it was all delicious.

    Hopper and I were so blessed to be a part of the meal and to just be hanging out with brothers and friends. The Moran did all the preparation of the meal and dividing of the meat into the various sections. There is meat for the men, women, children, and of course for the Moran themselves. After the meal we were talking with the Moran they wanted me to take some photos. They loved that even in the pitch black the pictures still came out. They were a fun group of guys just laughing and cutting up with each other. This night was what Ernie calls ones of the Jewels of being a missionary. You can not put into to words kicking back with Masai warriors eating goat, shooting the breeze, and laughing.

    Once supper was over we showed the Jesus film in Masai for everyone on the side of the Land Rover.  They wanted to wait until the meal was over so everyone could enjoy it.  Afterward the pastor that had traveled with Ernie gave a presentation of the gospel and closed everything out. It was an impromptu meeting but we had a good little turn out.
    By the time the movie was over we were ready for bed. Josiah and I slept in our tent and Ernie, well…he slept on top of his car. He designed his roof rack so that he could sleep on it with a net. It was a beautiful night! I got word also while we were in the village that my Uncle Jimmy had passed away. I was so glad that I had gotten to speak with him before I came out to the village. Kenya had texted me because the network was coming and going. I would have to wait until I got back to Malindi to call my Aunt but I had warned her I would be gone for a few days our last conversation.
    Josiah, Karate, a goat, and I were up early and on the road before 7. Karate went with us so he could carry the goat to one of his brothers and so he could show us the “short cut” out. It was foggy and cold most of the morning as we drove and we were driving in the “bush” I mean the “real bush”. At one point our visibility was only about 30 feet in front of us but Karate seemed to know where we were going so we pressed on through woods, shrubs, mud, zig zagging all around. I was amazed just thinking of what we were doing…It was so quiet and felt like we were a million miles from anywhere and in some ways we were.

    As the sun continued to  burn off the fog we began to see signs of bomas and people again. We passed by to give the goat to one of Karate’s brothers and when we arrived I realized it was one of the men that has visited us at church in Malindi several times. It was so good to see him. He told us his wife was taken to the hospital because she was bitten by a snake but that she was going to be ok. We had to have some chai before we continued on our way to Salama where we would catch the main road.

    We left Karate’s brothers place and started off into the bush again, this time we dropped down into a river bed and it was not completely dry… There was mud everywhere but we managed to press on. After a couple of minutes we heard the honking of a Motor bike horn and saw someone flagging us down. When the rider made it to us it was one the men we had just left. He had seen that we were going the wrong way and followed our tracks to tell us that we should not stay int he river bed because of deep holes ahead that we could get stuck in. He lead us up out of the river bed into the woods where there was no road at all just grass and trees. He took us back to the road that we needed and we continued on our way. We were grateful for the help and quick reaction of Karate’s brother, otherwise our day may have turn out much different.

    After hours of driving we finally made it to the main road where we dropped karate and gave him money to take a motor bike back home. Josiah and I spent another 8 or 9 hours in the Land Rover finally making it back to Malindi. We really had a great trip and I think accomplished much in a short time. Please pray for the Ole Tuktuk area there is fertile ground for the gospel but the need is laborers.

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