Sunday, October 12, 2008


We drove out of Kijabe on the afternoon of September 26 into the wilderness... I saw lots of beautiful acacia trees like this one. Lots of DUST!!!! The road was extremely BUMPY for the next 5 hours or so.

I saw lots and lots of Thompson Gizelles with their dark brown stripe on their sides. They are everywhere feeding.

As we drove further out we began to see Maasai shepherds with their flocks. They love the color red and it's a lovely contrast to all the brown you see. DOUBLE-CLICK for detail.

I saw this shepherd running to head his flock off. They were heading for the road! DOUBLE-CLICK to see detail!

We began to see the little brown that huts the Maasai live in. These little huts speckled the landscape more and more.

There was no traffic except for this overloaded yellow bus. See all the dust? The road was mostly like this except for some tarred areas close to small cities. Even then, we would see, "END OF TAR," signs. Then it would be super-bumpy again!

This is Yuma, the first Maasai shepherd I'd ever met. We had to stop to check on our tire (see Bob and Ann?), and this shepherd walked over from the field across the way. I walked up and gave him a firm American handshake. Those are his two little sons. I asked him how old they are and he said, "About 7 or 8," since Maasai don't keep track of their years.

Here's a close-up of Yuma. I asked him if those were his cows across the way and he said in his soft accented voice, "Those are my sheep. They are not cows. We are prosperous." He had chains around his calves (you can double-click the previous photo to see them), and a knife around his waist. See Bob?

Here's a pic of some Maasai shepherds sitting under an acacia tree. DOUBLE-CLICK for detail. We saw many people sitting under these awesome trees. There are some people who think that this was the tree that the soldier made the crown of thorns from for Jesus during His crucifixion, for they are dangerously thorny.

We began to see people walking along dressed in beautiful bright cloths wrapped around them.

I saw many shepherds like this one wrapped in their red blanket. By the way, the car was okay but the strut was damaged from a huge bump that we had pounded down on. Bob had to drive very carefully which made the trip a bit longer than usual.

Here's a Maasai shepherd boy. The boys get an "inheritance herd," if they pass through their painful circumcism rite without flinching. If they flinch they are branded as a coward for the rest of their life. Their herd is condsidered their wealth.

We had to stop for this little herd to cross. See the dusty road?? Did you notice that the steering wheel is on the right-hand side of the car?

Here's a Maasai mama with her baby on her back. They shave their heads because they believe this is beautiful. The men however do not. Their young warriors will grow long dreadlocks.

Here's a little video showing us driving (on a 4-wheeler) up to the Master's Mission where McKenna and I stayed with Shayne and Tari Russell in their aluminum home.

Shayne & Tari Russell and some Maasai girls. Shayne and Tari were so wonderful to open their home to us and take us in. They've been living with the Maasai for 13 years now, having come as a result of the Maasai inviting them to live and giving them the land they're on which is on a hill a little ways above where the Maasai live. The Maasai considered this hill "junk land." !

Here's the kitchen of Shayne and Tari's house. To the left is a steel ship container which is their bedroom. They added on the aluminum room through that door in the little kitchen. You can DOUBLE-CLICK for detail. That's a water jug in the middle since it's not safe to drink the water from the tap.

A Maasai mama came to the house to set up her wares for us.

The Maasai women build their own homes and support their children by making things to sell. Their husbands only shepherd the sheep. The wives do everything including milking the cows at the end of each day. The shepherds typically have 3-5 wives and visits their houses.

When you walk up to their little "shop" they say, "Caribu," which means, "Welcome."

The little church was built with funds from Masters Mission and also from the funds of the local people. It was packed full while we were there. Pastor Shayne gave a great message. By now I had learned from Tari that when women greet men in the Maasai culture, they're supposed to barely touch the man's hand. It's considered flirtatious for a women to firmly shake a man's hand. Although I had blown it with Yuma, I kept this in mind as I met Maasai men.

McKenna and I sang some Swahili songs. Some of the Maasai only speak Maasai, but many of them know Swahili.

The Maasai children are respectful and friendly. In their culture, it's actualy considered disrespectful if a Maasai child shakes your hand. They're supposed to bow slightly and offer their head. You then lay your hand gently on their head and say, "Habari," or "hello how are you?" They were so sweet!

The girls have to go through a painful rite as soon as puberty starts. They are then married off soon after - often at the ages of 11 and up - to shepherds who have many other wives.

I just loved this little one and I pray the Lord will manifest Himself to her in the coming days and years.

Can you see the girls carrying their baby sisters on their backs?

The two Maasai men dressed in red are our interpreters. We're getting ready to do our little puppet show.

Our puppet show tells them about how Jesus paid their penalty of sin.

You can DOUBLE-CLICK for detail.

Afterward we sang some songs. (The blonde heads there belong to Jon & Almi Johnson, a missionary family who live and work among the Maasai.)

Jacob played the drum for us. It was so cool! He used his left hand, and you can see a stick in his right hand (DOUBLE-CLICK if you want), to create a totally foreign-sounding rhythm which I wish I'd recorded!

Here's a little clip of us singing with the Maasai children a song about Jesus coming back soon just like He promised. The song asks, "Are you ready?"

A group of Maasai school students came and sang for us. They are great singers!

McKenna and I walked down to "the tree" to lead worship for the Maasai Sunday School! See the goats? DOUBLE-CLICK for detail!

That's Tari on the right.

It was so awesome to sing with them outside! They loved it and were so excited!

DOUBLE-CLICK for detail!

Here's a Maasai grandmother who was with us under the tree.

This was one of my favorite times and I'll never forget it, flies and all!

This was a morning staff meeting of workers meeting on the Johnson's porch. McKenna is sitting across from me and Almi and we are singing.

Maasai come to Shayne and Tari's house throughout the day seeking medical attention for cuts and sicknesses. This Maasai mama had injured her hand while gathering sticks for fire and had come seeking wound care. Tari talked me through my first Maasai nursing experience. DOUBLE-CLICK to see the Maasai mama detail.

I just loved these sweet girls caring for their baby sisters!

DOUBLE-CLICK for detail.

It was hard to think of driving 5 bumpy hours back to civilization! I truly enjoyed our special time with the Maasai people. A number of them expressed a desire to follow Jesus and I pray that they will grow in their faith in the coming days and years.

That's Ann Tayloe on the left.

Some Maasai girls with McKenna. DOUBLE-CLICK for detail.

It was 5:00 p.m. traffic! The cows were returning with their shepherds for the evening. In this little clip you can hear the clanking of their bells and hear the children's voices. It was so cool to have seen this! Even though I couldn't tell one herd from another as they all walked along (see the clip), Tari explained that the herds each know who their shepherd is and stay together. They live all around the Maasai houses in pens at night. She said that if you were to place a cow into a strange herd, it would cry all night. I understood better from this what Jesus meant when He said, "My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me."

Jon, Almi, Tanya, Christy and Joshua have lived among the Maasai for 10 years and have just built their home out of rocks dug from the earth and recently moved in. They had been living in a shipping container for years.
Here's a quick video of John & Almi and kids which I took by accident...

Just before we left Maasai Mara to return to Nairobi, Almi surprised us with a 4-wheeler ride. In this little clip you can see us driving down the hill and passing the Maasai village to the right. It's pretty bumpy and it ends up behind Almi's back(!) because I didn't realize the camera was still going! But you can get a good idea of what it looks like there. It's hard to believe it's 2008 as you realize that people happily live this way.
It's out in the middle of nowhere in a little brown river...

Do you see that circular shape in the distance? It's called a "boma," and it's where the Maasai live. You can see them all through the fields. They make their houses from mud/dung/sticks in a circular form. They surround the hosues with thick thorny bushes and at night the animals are in the middle of the houses. DOUBLE-CLICK!! for amazing detail.

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