21 March 2016

Samburu-land; a visit to a manyatta at dusk

The adventure of living in the Lord is tremendous! 
You never know what growing and exciting experience is right around the corner.
~ Mary E. Jensen, Bible Women Speak to us Today

Vincent and Julia keep their herd of goats at his mother's manyatta, a 20-minute walk from where we stayed. One evening, when they went to check on them, Gloria and I went along.

Vincent's mother


Believe it or not... several elephants live in the area. Because of that we headed back before it got dark. As the sun set in the west, the full moon rose in the east. I had thoroughly enjoyed our outing.

17 March 2016

Samburu-land; worshiping the Lord with one of the world's many people groups

Behold a great multitude that no one could number, 
from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, 
standing before the throne and before the Lamb. 
~ Revelation 7:9

For this is how God loved the world: 
He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him 
will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world 
not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. 
There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. 
But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged 
for not believing in God’s one and only Son. 
Anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. 
~ John 3:16-18, 36; New Living Translation

15 March 2016

Samburu-land; meeting some of Gloria's friends and other villagers at Arsim

Following Samburu culture, the chin of the girl on the left has been 'painted' with red ochre signifying she is eligible for marriage

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~ Mark Twain, American author

Believers are Christ's body here on earth. 
We are his hands and feet, his touch and smile, his voice and warmth.
~ Mary E. Jensen, Bible Women Speak to Us Today

It had been a year since Gloria was last at Arsim; everyone was happy to see her again!

The Samburu are a Nilotic people of north-central Kenya that are related to but distinct from the Maasai. The Samburu are semi-nomadic pastoralists who herd mainly cattle but also keep sheep, goats, and camels. The name they use for themselves is Loikop. Although highland areas can be reached fairly easily, many areas of the lowlands remain without good roads or public services. [from Wikipedia]

A mother and her daughter

God gave me a sense of wanderlust - a strong desire or impulse to wander, travel, and explore the world. In my time in Kenya, I've thoroughly enjoyed seeing so many parts of the country.

This was my first time to be in Samburu-land. It was a great opportunity to get to know Gloria better and see the place she considers home. She's been a missionary in Kenya for 23 years, 18 of which were at Arsim.

The children were also happy to see Gloria again

Gloria is a nurse and worked at the Arsim dispensary for those 18 years.

The three small rivers in the area are dry much of the time

I met these two guys on one of my walks, Lemelilo and Martin

It was nice to meet many of Gloria's friends including Julia and Vincent (on the far right), with whom we traveled and stayed.

Marker shows the remote location of Arsim

There are a few people left in the world who live as they've always lived, 
maintaining their traditions against all odds. 
These are people who want nothing to do with the modern world. 
You can think they are traditionalists, maintaining their ancient culture 
in the face of global homogenization, or you can think they are anachronisms, 
refusing to accept modern benefits, from housing to nutrition to medicine. 
Whatever your opinion, these compelling and remarkable beings 
from another time are now quickly vanishing from the earth. 
Whenever I get a chance, I like to go look at them.

~ Craig Nelson, Let's Get Lost 
(referring to people such as the Khoikoi, Hadza, San Bushmen, and Datoga from southern Africa and Tanzania)

09 March 2016

Stopover at Isiolo town, the real start of our adventure to Samburu-land

Beautiful undulating hills near Isiolo, with acacia trees in the foreground

Our next stop was Isiolo, about 90 minutes north of Nanyuki. With a population of 80,000, it's home to a cosmopolitan mix of peoples and cultures. This includes the Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan-speaking Ameru, Samburu and Turkana, as well as the Cushitic-speaking Rendille, Somali, and Boran people. The Somali residents, who settled in the area as soldiers after the first World War, mostly engage in livestock farming. There are also some Indian shopkeepers. The town is predominantly Muslim and has several mosques.

This was my second time to Isiolo, the first being approximately 10 years ago.

We bought quite a bit of fresh produce at the Isiolo market, before heading further north to Arsim

Gloria bought a rice basket from this vendor, who carried all his wares on his bicycle

The surrounding horizons have such beautiful hills and mountains

Meet Franklin, a milk goat, who was our fellow passenger

We fueled and serviced the lorry and land cruiser at a busy gas station before heading out of town

Late lunch at Archer's Post (30 minutes north of Isiolo) before the last 100+ miles to Arsim (mostly on rough roads)

Adventure is worthwhile in itself. 
~ Amelia Earhart, first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean

Following the yellow lorry along some quite fascinating scenery

“Sunsets, like childhood, are viewed with wonder 
not just because they are beautiful but because they are fleeting.”
~ Richard Paul Evans, The Gift

07 March 2016

Nanyuki Spinners and Weavers, a women's self-help group near Mount Kenya

The Nanyuki Spinners and Weavers project trains women in the craft of spinning, knitting, and weaving wool, with the goal of becoming self-reliant. Nanyuki town (93 miles north of Nairobi) has favorable weather for raising sheep and is one of the major wool producing areas in Kenya.

Nanyuki, located on the equator, is 6,390 feet high in elevation. It's a short distance northwest of Mount Kenya, which is the highest mountain in Kenya (17,000 feet) and the second highest in Africa.

Our guide 'carding' wool to prepare it for spinning

The wool on the left has been carded; the wool on the right has not

Spinning the wool into usable yarn requires a steady rhythm, guiding it by hand and treadling the foot pedal 

The yarn is carefully and thoroughly washed nine times
Kenya highland wool is favorable for hand-spinning into yarn. The natural color of the wool ranges from white to almost black, with a range of warm browns and grays in between.

The women dye the yarn with natural ingredients, mostly found in flowers

Natural red dye from crushed Cochineal insect larvae makes all the colors in our guide's hand.
The women collect the larvae from cacti.

The final step is to weave the yarn into rugs, placemats, wall-hangings, etc.

The women skilled in sewing and spinning 
prepared blue, purple, and scarlet thread and cloth, and fine-twined linen. 
~ Exodus 35:25-26, New Living (in context of building the tabernacle)

I first toured this fascinating place approximately 10 years ago and was happy to return. I still have this depiction of Mount Kenya hanging in my living room, purchased on that first visit.

These colors are all natural, with no dyes. 

A glimpse of Mount Kenya, taken from Nanyuki Sports Club

I got this shot on a clearer day, from near Simba Lodge where we stayed. You can see snow on the peak!

There are many large wheat farms in the Nanyuki area. I got this shot while moving down the highway in a matatu.

Nanyuki in relation to Nairobi and Mount Kenya

Hyrax at Trout Tree restaurant, just down the road from Nanyuki