Saturday, March 02, 2013

Trudy in Masai Land: Mission Accomplished

LOL Director Trudy Marshall has successfully ended her private mission trip to Masai Land in Kenya to oversee construction of three buildings funded by Pflugerville Community Church. She is now in Uganda and will spend the next 6 months working with Libraries of Love’s 24 existing libraries and four new ones that will be created in June. Below is an update on her month in Masai Land, including some harrowing experiences – which seem to be part of “Trudy Travel.”
Eddie Roach
Media Director, Libraries of Love

* * * * *

Mission Accomplished

Combined school/church buildings completed

By Trudy Marshall
March 1, 2013

I have completed my private mission trip to Masai Land in Kenya. I am now in Uganda where I will
spend the next 6 months working with Libraries of Love libraries. I was in Masai Land to oversee
construction of three buildings funded by Pflugerville Community Church near my home in Texas. I
loved my time in Masai land and became close friends with many wonderful people. It was an honor to
spend time with them. I am looking forward to returning in April with Pastor Okumu, from Uganda, for
a pastor's conference.

During my month in Masai land, a school/church was built in Mosiro and another in Ewuaso. The third
building, next to the Ewuaso church, will be used as an all purpose building: a seminary, Sunday
school, youth services, conferences, etc. In addition, 83 Bibles were purchased in the Masai language, 5
in Swahili, and 5 in English.

Pictured is the completed school/church building at Mosiro.


Feb. 18 – Yesterday, Pastor Peter and I went to
Mosiro in a worn out pick-up ... bald tires, left
window handle was missing, the right window
stayed up if a screw driver was inserted between the
window and door. With the windows up it was
suffocating … down you were covered with dirt. I
know I have tried to describe the roads before, but
yesterday it dawned on me; they are like a lava
flow – only covered with dirt.
Peter asked if I wanted to take the long hike to see
the only source of water for Mosiro. It was far and
down the hill, over many, many rocks. I was glad I
went. The water is filthy – light brown with a darker
brown scum. The cattle drink from here – as do the people … without boiling. Hard to imagine it is the
only source of water. Sad!

A rainwater holding tank with concrete poured under it will be installed at Mosiro this week. It will be a life saver for sure.


Travel with Trudy in Masai Land – an adventure full of blessings

(Note: Trudy joined Pastor Peter and others at a four-day gathering of Masai Christians from various churches all over Masai land. The conference was in Oloitokitok just outside Amboseli National Park, a harrowing six-hour trip from Ewuaso. Oloitokitok is near the border with Tanzania within sight of Mount Kilimanjaro.)

The Trip

Map shows A-Ewuaso and B-Oloitokitok.
We left on a tire that had rope stuck in a hole in the side. It went flat. We changed to the spare, which had the gold cord showing all the way around. Both tires went flat again. We found places to air them – once using a bicycle pump. After leaving Masai land we were on a busy, busy blacktop road with endless trucks traveling from the port at Mombasa to Nairobi. The driver was the worst I have had in 10 years traveling in Africa.

If I'm totally scared, you know it is worse than bad. We had bad tires; the brakes were metal against metal; the hand break didn't work, and
the driving was so dangerous, even with my yelling at him “popole, popole” – “slowly, slowly.” We were driving on mountain roads – with no rails. We finally made it to Oloitokitok. Amazing! I told Peter I would take a bus back to a town called Mai-Ma Hio, then contact someone to come for me on a boda to get to Ewuaso. Bless Peter's heart, he went and bought two new tires for the car.

Return Trip

Tires were better. Breaks were not. Driving terrified me. I couldn't believe the risks the driver was taking. Finally, this mzungu lost it! The driver was going 75 mph when the roads were crowded, passing on hills and curves. I confess – I lost it. I screamed childish things like, "You drive stupid!” Then I laid down in the seat
because I couldn't stand to watch. OK, I have confessed. Now you know. I did have to apologize later for my outburst, though I told the driver that I would never ride with him again. Peter arranged for another driver to meet us in Nairobi – and we switched drivers. I wanted to kiss the ground of Ewuaso town!
What can I say?!

Hospitality Masai Style

In Oloitokitok, the women had carved out a huge
area under tree branches with brush for a circular
fence. They had big black pots for cooking rice,
beans, potatoes and meat – with charcoal for
making chapatti, a kind of flat bread. While the
women cooked under the tree awning, the men sat
above on a rock area enclosed by trees. The men
stay separate from the women … though they did
invite this mzungu into their enclave. Of course the
women brought them tea and then lunch.

This was by a small church.

The two nights before reaching the church, we stayed in a small village at the Grand Savannah Hotel.
The small hotel was owned by a cousin of a pastor who traveled with us. It was good - and actually had
hot water for a shower – next thing to heaven! The toilet was a sit-down … without a seat. Humm!

This was also where we had roasted goat in the bush. The men were in the bush cooking a goat they
had killed. They took parts of the goat; stuck a stick through it; stuck one end in the dirt, and the other
over the fire. The women had a small, metal cook shack with a dirt floor where they used charcoal and

After we had goat at 10:30 pm., we had a worship service with about 40 Masai men and women under
the stars from midnight until 1:30 am. It was beautiful!

An Exciting Night

Trudy did not get a photo of her Masai 
Moran police warrior. guards. This photo 
Moran in full dress.
Copyright: Vadim Onishchenko.
Feb. 21 – There is no town at Oloitokitok … It is just a place with a wooden church – and dung-covered homes called “enkaji” dotted across the open space. The day before, a lion had killed a Masai Moran (one of the police warriors) near where I was, so we had two warriors guard us and the animals.

There was a late-night service. I had to admire the women. They
walked across the open spaces for probably two miles at 8 pm to
attend the evening service that lasted until 1 am. It was packed. The church was full with people outside as well. I decided not to attend because it was conducted in the Masai language.

I was escorted by the warrior guards to a vacant house. The house
was of old wood, but decent. They had built a stick wall around the compound with the house, goats, cows, and sheep inside the wall. The problem was the latrine was outside the wall. Since a lion had killed someone here the night before, and I wasn't sure the guards were outside, I decided I could do without the latrine in the middle of the night. Even though they told me I would be alone in the house, later a women, Ester, came and brought me tea, and she
spent the night with me.

Frightening as it was, I made it through the night. It was quite a sight to see the Masai warrior police leaving in the morning with their long metal spears (as tall as they are), bow and arrow, knives, and all their gear. I wanted to take a picture, but I only got them as they were walking away.

A young singer, Mike Ole Parsaoti traveled with us to the conference. He spoke good English and kept me laughing. About the lion, he said lions were used to black skin, so the lion would want something new – mzungu skin. Then he laughed and said that was okay. Since I was older, I had already lived a long life, but he is still young (32) and his wife and two children need him. Mike was like that the entire four days. I loved his company.

The local pastor said the people hadn't seen mzungus and would want to touch, feel my skin, etc. But
after seeing all the vans of white people going by into the National park, I would guess the locals have
“seen” plenty of mzungus – perhaps just not interacted closely with them.

What a blessing that I got to meet an enjoy the company of these wonderful people.

Fun photos and interesting facts

Main street in Ewuaso town. Great little place.

Masai are still very much polygamous, and they practice female circumcision. There is a Catholic work here in Ewuaso that rescues girls as young as 12 years old who are being married to old men,
and for girls trying to escape circumcision. I admire their work. Many of the girls are promised as babies to men, and then must marry at an early age. Christian pastors preach against both practices.
The Masai around Ewuaso pull one of a child's lower front teeth at abut age 3. That way, if they child gets sick, they can still give them milk and medicine.
Masai use sticks from any of 7 trees to clean their teeth. They insist it works better than a toothbrush.
At Mosiro, a Masai man broke a cactus and took a lick of the juice inside. He handed it to me. I took a lick of the same place. He said Masai use the juice inside to cure pneumonia. Also, if you apply to it your face, it will get rid of pimples. What a deal!
Where we were nearer the Tanzanian border, the Masai tattoo children when they are 5 or 6 – putting a circle about the size of a dime on their face with a hot iron. It burns the outside ring, but doesn't burn the skin inside the circle. Also, the ladies near the border wear what we think of as Mexican bandanas.
In Ewuaso, we had a Texas tornado – Kenyan style. The night was pitch black. It truly sounded like a tornado, but it was a dirt storm. They sky was totally, totally filled with swirling dirt. An electrical pole was shooting huge amounts of fire into the air. The girls and I stood on the balcony near the door to watch. Really, a strange sight. The only thing I had to compare it with was a sandstorm I experienced once in when in China. Goodness!
This was in the goat pen near the house I stayed in that was guarded 
by the Masai warriors. Aren't these some cute kids?

Love this picture of the grandchildren of a pastor in whose home I stayed. 
They live in the small building with their grandmother - right next to 
the sheep pen.

Feb. 25 – Last market day before next Monday's election ... Let's try to get some votes! Perhaps it will dawn on the politicians we could use some roads in Masai land! Our small town of Ewuaso was crowded beyond recognition.

Sunday morning, a young pastor preached on elections. He said the election / leader(s) lay a foundation. Sometime is a good foundation. Other times, the foundation is not built with integrity or in God's will. However, others continue to build on the bad foundation and reason that it must be good since the leader laid it. Finally, it becomes 'normal' to the people though it is not with God's blessing.

We pray for peaceful elections though there are already isolated reports of shacks being burned in Nairobi and fighting … tribe against tribe. Following the last national election in December 2007, violence took the lives of 1,300 people, and 600,000 were forced to flee their homes.


Google Map Links:

Ewuaso, Kenya

Mosiro, Kenya

Oloitokitok, Kenya

Ewuaso to Mosiro

Ewuaso to Oloitokitok


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