Dispatch Africa 2013:
Well, I turned 50 today (April 15th). I spent the day teaching systematic theology to a group of about 30 Maasai Christian pastors in the bush of southwestern Kenya, toward the Tanzanian border (I am not making this up.). It’s the raining season here, and everything is green in sub-Saharan Africa. The animals are dancing and prancing around like it’s the senior prom. Short of Jesus coming back, the day could not have been improved upon, except if I had been surrounded by my family and friends, and if someone had invented a nifty pocket-sized air conditioner. Maasai sounds like moss-eye. Here are a few of pictures of typical Maasai warriors:
See how they jump? Check out the cool ears. My students informed me that tomorrow they will be taking my measurements, and on Wednesday they are planning to make me an official Maasai warrior and will be giving me a custom made Maasai warrior vestiture. I am so excited I can’t stand it. Me, a Maasai warrior. This is a very great honor. Maasai warriors are so brave that four of them can take away a fresh kill from a pack of lions. National Geographic has made a documentary of their amazing feats of courage. I will try to live up to the image. Hope I don’t have to steal dinner from a lion or marry the chief’s daughter to become a warrior. I can tell you this much for sure, I have decided not to get my ears done. Last year, a group of Maasai students in another region of Kenya gave me a Maasai name, Mazungu Emuny (sounds like ma-zoon’-goo eh-moon’-yee). It means white rhino. I don’t know where they came up with that, but I like it. Except for the horns, I kind of look like a big white rhino, well, a little bit anyway, I guess. They are preparing my battle implements: a sword, a club, and a spear, which they plan to present to me on my next visit. (Stuart, can I go back soon, oh please, oh please, can I, huh, can I, huh?)
My driver for the week is Joel Ikaba Chege (rhymes with Peggy). Bishop Chege is a 60 year old church planter who oversees more than fifty churches, including his own church, where he serves as senior pastor. He has built a school and an orphanage and cares for hundreds of children. He has been assigned to keep me in line or out of trouble, I forget which. He is like “M” or “Q” in those James Bond movies. You know, the person who tells you about how you are going to die on your next mission, but here is an ejector seat and some x-ray glasses? I like to call him Papa, mainly because he keeps telling me that he needs to beat me. Beat me? He says, “Noel, you need beating; I must wheep you.” I don’t really think I need a “wheeping.” But, he is of the Kikuu tribe (kick-oo’-you).
Turned 50, chilled with the Maasai, became a warrior. I have arrived. How did you spend your last birthday? This was how I spent mine. Don’t be a hater.
Like it? Don’t like it? Leave me a comment!