Ancestors, Clouds and Rabies

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Tom Lolosoli, Secretary of the Samburu East Development Forum

For a couple of years I have enjoyed receiving Facebook posts from Tom Lolosoli, the Secretary of the Samburu East Development Forum.  Tom is a prolific writer and each post includes valuable information on community issues in the Samburu East area around Archer’s Post, about 200 kilometers south of Laisamis District.  Tom does an outstanding job keeping people informed.  He has also been known to respectfully cajole “elites” to support education and development projects with donations and he was one of the organizers of a recent “Peace Caravan”.  I hope I get to meet Tom someday.

Enroute to Nairobi, in my stopover in London, I read Tom’s most recent post on a very interesting topic – the Samburu’s strong belief in cloud formations as a form of communication between God and mankind.  Tom writes that last Friday, the 21st, a cloud was sighted over Mt. Sepashe that read “God is one” in Arabic.  Tom did his best to verify the story and he found many eyewitnesses.

In response, Tom reports, the elders have been conducting traditional rituals and the women are singing all night in an effort to appease ancestors and ask God for forgiveness and blessings.   Journalists started coming to the area to report on the phenomena and then over the weekend, “light showers were reported and the weather was cool and cloudy. It rarely happen seeing showers on January and that amplified believe of many doubting Thomases.”

Tom also reports on a recent outbreak of rabies in Ilaut and Ngurunit in Laisamis District:  “Six people have been reported dead following rabies outbreak in the above mentioned places in Laisamis constituency. 20 more people are reported infected and locals have cited lack of vaccines in the areas’ health facilities. The disease was spreading fast as victims were reported biting anyone on site and near their reach. Veterinary doctors started a campaign of killing stray dogs to control the spread. The first victim may have probably been bitten by a dog before turning to people.”

“Many of those perished are children under the age of five. Children victims passed the infection to their mothers through breastfeeding. Locals tried reaching flying doctors/AMREF but to no avail, because the area is not covered by any mobile operator and the few satellite phones that were available were out of power.”

So here’s my prayer as I lay my head down in my nice safe hotel in Nairobi:

“Hey Ancestors in the clouds  – listen up.  We need mobile phone service in the area. So many lives could be saved.  I know you gave us rain and everything but if you could get those bigwigs in Nairobi to help us get mobile phone service we could do so many things. And save so many lives.  A health clinic would be even better.

Oh, and also thank Mama Rungu’s doctor for making her get a rabies shot.  She is going to be staying in Ngurunit in 4 days.”  Amen.

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About Mama Rungu

Founder and CEO The Boma Project
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