September 2008

Vol. 23, #9

September, 2008


Some stuff that happened ten years ago this month at Endulen,

A bad trip...

Warriors, cattle traders or "wajulusi" in Swahili, from the Loliondo area on the other side of the Serengeti stayed with us for a few days last week. They are relatives of the seminarian doing his year of pastoral internship here with us in Endulen. They are "wajulusi" swahili for cattle traders. Here in Endulen, now about eight in all, they joined up with some of the local warriors, to go to Sukuma land, some three days walk to the West of here at Ngorongoro. On arrival there, they began to buy cattle. The second evening, with some cattle bought, and most of the trading still to be done, they stayed at a local "hoteli", By now, having met other "wajulusi" from Maasai country at the Sukuma cattle markets, they numbered more than twenty and rented ten rooms in the "hoteli". About two in the morning all ten doors were crashed open and a big gang of robbers toting pistols and rifles. In the confusion, a number of shots were fired by the thieves. One of the cattle dealers was shot in the arm and another was creased in the side. The robbers got away with about three thousand dollars. Fearing a second attack, our people from Maasai country set out immediately for home with the few cattle they already had purchased.

Their trip was aimed at buying Sukuma cattle that are relatively cheap now and trekking them across the Serengeti into Kenya where they can be sold at cattle markets for quite a profit. Then the exchange of the Kenya shillings for Tanzania shillings, they got when selling the cattle, brings them another sizable profit. This lukrative trading is difficult business. It is a trek of seven days from Sukuma land to the Kenya cattle markets with the danger of attack from thieves and cattle rustlers all the way. If successful, a cattle trader can expect to buy a cow for $50 and by the time he changes his Kenya shillings for Tanzanian money, make a profit of about $150.


Crabs in the Spring...

The other day, I walked down to where our spring comes out of the ground and forms a small pool before it starts a small stream that never dries up. I sat on a rock. No one bothers to go there during the rains because water is readily available everywhere, although that's where the cleanest water is.

After about ten minutes many small crabs came out from under rocks and and began to move around sideways. I guess they were looking for food. One came over and took a close look at my gum boot and then went off. Another sat half in and half out from under a rock looking at me for about ten minutes while he/she crunched on something. The whole episode was surprising to me, because I didn't know we had crabs at our spring in Endulen. While I was sitting there, two very big baboons were sitting on another rock about thirty feet away from me checking each other out for lice.


Maasai girls discuss women's issues...

My secondary and technical school students are returning to school following their mid-term break. I will take them to Ngorongoro and they'll board the bus for Arusha where they'll disperse for their various secondary and technical schools. These eighteen Maasai girls have been staying here with me during their leave time. One difference about this leave has been the three day seminar on women's issues we ran for them. It was very successful and we hope to do that again next leave.


Lions and Hyenas square off...

Have you heard of the war in Western Ethiopia between lions and hyenas. It seems that the people wars are so widespread these days that even the animals are getting into the act. The BBC reports that so far the casualties total six lions and fourteen hyenas. Commentators cite three possible causes of the war among the predators, territorial disputes, some type of heretofore unidentified virus or other disease, or possibly an insufficiency of prey in the area. Anyway, we've been getting updates for the past few days on the BBC program: "Good Morning Africa."


Till next month,