|My Filson jacket in Masai land|
|Masai drinking water|
#7 My week and a bit with the Masai
Day 7 - Tuesday
I was up early and into the bush. I love the bush, not just for hunting but also to hear the bird life and enjoy the beauty of nature. Pastor Musa’s house is located just under a ridge, so the clouds were still sitting on top the ridge. It is cold here in Masai land this time of year. Thanks to my good friend John in Seattle area, he bought me a ‘Filson’ jacket. Might as well have the best, is what they say. It’s the kind tough guys wear. Thanks, John!
After some chapatis and some chai we were off. Well, we were supposed to be off, but we had to wait for the driver again. He has had two more flats since yesterday. This guy I am not too sure about. Our patience is running a bit thin with him.
At the clinic the line is long already. People have come a long way. When a tooth is in pain your whole life is just not fun. Some have been in pain for months perhaps years. In the rural areas of Africa there is only one dentist to every 150,000 people, I think it is something like one dentist for every 2,000 in the States.
It is not uncommon for Masai women to have their front two teeth taken out as a sign of beauty. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, as they say. Mark’s mother had her front top two taken out when she was just a girl. Mark’s front bottom two teeth were taken out when he was just 6 years old. It is a belief that if your child get this certain disease that the mouth will close, so these teeth are taken out so that at least you can get food into the mouth. My teeth are not very good but I still have all mine; thanks to Dr. Rick!
I have done my duty this morning and helped Dr. Rick get set up; it is also my job to take some pictures of Dr. Rick at work. The plan today was to start our seminar at 9 am. But well, no one is here yet, it wasn’t till 11 that people started showing up. Time is always coming, right?
Today was a day of challenges, encouraging the pastors to create investors in their church and not just consumers or church goers. Most Africans have become consumers thanks to all the hand-outs that are given from the West; from the government to the church we are guilty of this.
This is the one of the first things I look for when I am in a group, who are the investors; and it is with these that I spend my energy. I have spent years investing in consumers and the fruit has proven to be very little. Even Jesus when he chose his 12 disciples; they were all doing something before he called them out. I actually wrote a list of all those I work with and even relate with, which ones are consumers and which are the investors. This has helped me so much to see where most of my time was being spent. That list has helped to prioritize my own time of investment with others. I still ‘love’ everyone but purpose my time differently.
A question that generally always comes up in a group of pastors here, as it did today is about polygamy. Having more than one wife, is this ok, is it a sin, what do we do as pastors if a member has more than one wife? I often will introduce myself letting everyone know that I have only one wife, I get a lot of laughs because there are many men in the church that will have up to four wives. My father knew of a man in Liberia where I lived as a kid, this man had 32 wives and like over a 100 children. I can’t even remember my own 4 girls’ names much-less 100.
My counsel is that it is not a sin, but it is better to be a man of one wife, you find it throughout the bible. No, do not divorce any of your wives, keep them all. Treat them right etc and no, it is better that you do not be a pastor of a church and so on. A lot of the counsel that pastors get from Westerners is that if you have wives, divorce all but the first. This has brought a lot of confusion in the rural churches of Africa. Now you have wives with no husbands and kids with no fathers. Who is going to take care of them? The best is for the husbands to love their wives and kids and take care of them. Anyway, this is a big thing here among the Masai. Mark’s mother is the first of four wives.
The first wife is always the first lady of the boma or home. She is the boss. It is not uncommon to have a 50 year old wife and a 18 year old wife. Each wife has her own house that she is responsible to build. Her house is often round and has a round top. There is only one tiny window or hole about the size of a tennis ball. Inside it is all black with years of smoke. There is small room where the baby goats etc stay, then you go into the bigger room where most of life takes place. Here is where most of the cooking takes place and the only light comes from the small fire. The mattress is but a cow hide that is laid on top of a bed frame made of sticks. All the kids sleep on one side of the fire and mom and baby sleeps on the other.
The husband then stays in his own house, it is generally a square house and he often is the one that builds his own house. His house is made of mud while her house is made of cow dung. You may think that this is unfair but it is the cow dung house that generally lasts longer. There is no smell and easy to patch since all the cows are home for the night. Your building material is just there in the stall. ______________________________________
Back at the clinic Dr. Rick is having a blast, he has not been feeling so good today, but he is pushing on. I know that he has been keeping his own journal; I have no idea what he writes about. I am sure my name has and will appear a time or two, not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing. Maybe I will sneak his journal into my room and read it through with my new termite friends….
The night air is colder tonight with a small rain shower. Speaking of showers we actually got warm water and took a cup bath. I have been able to take a bath with three cups of water, four is always better. It is an art. You should try it just for fun. It is amazing on how little a person can manage on. The Masai do not take baths very often mostly due to the distance of the waterhole. Once a week, once a month, even once a year. One thing is that they do wear clean clothes, these they wash regularly. So we have been treated well here. It is a lot of work for this household to have these wazungu (white) guys here. Again thanks to Dr. Rick, we get very special treatment.
In all this day was great, we had our dinner in the next boma across the way. Had a full spread. All too good. Tomorrow we go to the local Masai market, we will do a clinic there as well.
Tutaonana kesho – See you tomorrow