I recently enjoyed a full hour having a conference with a close Maasai friend and co-worker (in Maa) … via instant messaging on the computer. It’s not as nice as face-to-face, of course, but it beats either a static-y phone connection or a nine hour drive (three hours on pavement, and then bush driving).
When “chewing the news” among the Maasai, you first say that everything is wonderful, and then list any evidence in favor of that claim, move on to share any happenings that might prove that things aren’t so well after all, and finally conclude by stating that things are great. Neaku taa lelo. “And that’s the way things are.”
It’s always wonderful when you can report “kinoto enchan” (we got rain) when chewing the news. We are glad to share that we have indeed been getting rain this week. This is the season for the “long rains.” Expected to begin by mid-March, they were a couple of weeks late here in the northern part of Kajiado District. Back in February, there were clouds of white isampurumpur (butterflies) migrating south. The Maasai consider them harbingers of the rains. When the butterflies are all heading southward, can the rains be far behind? Well, the rains were further behind than we expected, but they have arrived.
Those of you who pray for rain for Kenya: Thank you. Please also pray that these will be the long rains. (Drought years often begin by either the short rains failing or the long rains being short rains instead of long.)
At our altitude (around 6500 ft), cloudy or rainy days are cool days. While my office window is opened just now (as it’s overcast, but not raining), I’m wearing a wool cardigan while I work. The children have also acclimated to the equatorial warmth we have during the dry seasons. Yesterday morning Alitzah decided pretty quickly that it was a day for a long sleeved dress and leggings. While rubbing her arms to keep warm and shivering a little, she told me, “I don’t mind the cold so much, Daddy, because the cold brought rain.”