Masai church service held under a tree.
- Masai children bow their heads when they meet an adult. The adult places one hand on top of his/her head to give a blessing.
- I stayed with Maria. Maria’s father had 10 wives. They all got along well, so Maria speaks of her mothers – the young one, etc. Her biological mother gave birth to 11 children. The father now has 240 grandchildren.
- I had several bites on my arm. I asked Maria's 9-year-old daughter Daisy what she thought they might be. She said cockroaches (I had knocked several off my bed) or rats and that sometimes the rats eat people’s fingers. The girl is hilarious – big eyes, great expression. At her boarding school, they speak English 4 days a week – Swahili on Fridays.
- Speaking of cockroaches – the outside toilet at Peter and Mary’s is shared by many families. I had used it before, but on my last night I opened the door and huge cockroaches were crawling around the hole. I am used to waving flies out – but cockroaches! So I jerked the door next to this one open – and there stood an undressed older man facing me! Geez! I didn’t know it was a “shower” room! Of course, there is no shower. You bring your own water basin.
- Masai practice female circumcision (genital mutilation) and early marriage. Masai fathers can give their daughters in marriage as early as 11 or 12. Women have no say. Masai are polygamous.Visit to Pastor Peter and Mary Nkipai – Aug. 2012The TripWilber decided to spare me the overnight (12-hour) bus ride, and so drove me to Nairobi, Kenya. Peter, my Masai pastor friend, and his driver met us there. Passing around the edge of the Great Rift Valley on the way to Peter’s is amazing – perhaps like the Grand Canyon of Africa, truly breathtaking.
We turned off the main roadto enter Masai land. To reach Ewuaso, we traveled what seemed like never-ending miles over dirt-rocky roads, cow and sheep paths, through what appeared to be rocky creek beds, and over dry, desert land, trying to avoid rocks and prickly plants. Finally, the small town of Ewuaso appeared. Ewauso’s main street is about three blocks long, with small stores lining the dirt streets, reminding one of an old Western town. Peter and Mary have a small grocery on the main street.After arriving, I found that it was the time each month in which they hold a Friday night (until 3 a.m.) and Saturday service at the church. In each service, they sing, pray, preach - and then sing, pray, and preach some more! Masai worship music and dancing is simply unique – absolutely inspiring to watch and enjoy.
Church visitsSunday, again I attended the small church, heard the young pastor preach, and then Peter and a driver picked me. I thought the road to Ewuaso was long and difficult – but it didn’t compare with where we were to go. We attended a church which meets under a tree, as many do in Masai land. Many times there wasn’t a road, or the road was cratered – difficult to pass. Finally, we arrived and Peter said it was time to “foot it.” I looked, and there was a very high hill covered with rocks and boulders. It seems the church was at the top of the hill in a flat area. It was a long climb – but worth every bit of it. Peter kept asking if I was okay. All I could think of was that I had to be one of the luckiest people in the world to be climbing the hill with Masai to attend a service under a tree! How great is that!!!
The Masai were in their colorful wraps, with long colorful, beaded necklaces and earrings, and many with earlobes hanging to their shoulders. The ears differ – many have huge holes in them, especially those that hang to the shoulders; others have been wrapped back up so that the ear looks somewhat like a triangle of skin. A women’s choir danced from the back, singing and slowing moving their necks in dancing. They were followed by a young ladies’ choir from a neighboring church. After the singing, they called me to the front. Many of the singers took off their beads and bracelets to place them on me. What an honor! Later, a large group of men stood in front to sing. There are really not words to describe the service – awesome, amazing, incredible, and truly wonderful!
Peter then preached. He keeps one mesmerized, as he is in constant movement, delivering fiery, inspirational preaching. What can I say? His preaching is dynamic, for the lack of a better word.
Family visitAfter the service, I went with Peter’s brother and his wife into one of the cow dung/mud homes, where we were served an orange, tea, rice, and goat’s meat. They said the Masai slaughter a goat when a guest they love and respect pays a visit, so they were showing us their love and appreciation.
On Mondays and Thursdays, it is market day in Ewuaso. The town becomes crowded and colorful with people selling sheep, goats, cows, produce, clothing, etc. It is definitely worth sitting outside a store to watch the market and people!A 'schoolhouse' constructed by parents.The day before I left, Peter and I drove an extremely long distance to reach a different church – also held under a tree. At this location, they had put together a makeshift, small structure of limbs and plastic that will serve as a school room. The school had been meeting under the tree. The structure seemed flimsy – but perhaps somewhat more waterproof than outdoors. Peter again held a service. We had an absolutely a beautiful time. The Masai people are so kind, and grateful to have visitors!
In conclusionI will treasure my time in Masai land. Peter’s wife, Mary, and Maria, in whose home I stayed are beautiful, Christian ladies. I have thought about how to describe Peter. He has established 30 churches built from tin – and oversees many more that meet under trees. I asked him if he would soon slow down and just oversee these churches. His reply, “How can I do that when there are Masai that have never heard about Christ?” His work is unbelievably difficult. He doesn’t own a car, so constantly has to pay for transport to these churches that are scattered throughout Masai land. He lives by faith. This amazing young man simply has a deep passion for his work. It reminds me of an old song, “I feel like a fire is shut up within my bones.” That is Peter – totally moved to share Christ with his people. He is driven with a holy passion, and has my highest respect and honor. I will look forward to returning.