Sunday, February 25, 2007

Part of our crew moved out to the Mubichis for dinner, plus special treats of sambusas (deep fried pastry triangles stuffed with spiced meat) and roasted corn (had much the flavor of popped corn). Fridah, Bob and Jean were slow in coming as Bob was committed to finishing some details on eight small book shelves he was building for the Easy book area.

Stephen told stories of his youth. He was from the Maasi tribe, noted for tall, strong warriors whose ear lobes are split and have long dangling earrings falling from them. Women are adorned with many bracelets on their arms and necks. He told of the Meru tribal negotiations leading up to marriage, which is quite costly to young men.. Stephen is part Meru. These are cousins of the Maasi. If a young man is marrying the first marriageable daughter, he’s asked to provide a suit for the father, a blanket for the bride’s mother, a drum of honey in an animal skin, a bull with a hump on its neck--else two bulls, a pure white lamb, and always, five cows! Amazingly, the tradition is still valid. In the meantime, the prospective groom’s background is checked for mental alertness and stabili6y, whether the family is hard-working, so the bride will be provided for. If all goes well, the marriage proceeds.

Stephen’s early courtship of Florence was erratic because he was loud and forceful, carried a gun, and brought dead and injured to the hospital where Florence worked. So Stephen became quite inventive about hiding his gun in his clothing.

About 7 p.m. Jean, Fridah and Bob and we ate. Most were exhausted and ready to turn in but first Neal led a brief devotion session. All except Jean, returned to the hotel. She and Fridah were holding a meeting with a small group of local women leaders on women’s empowerment programs.