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Jay | Susan | Alex | Beth | Samantha
September 22, 2008 8:30 am
Published in: Uncategorized

I flew down to Loiyangalani a few days ago and spent the night. There’d been a cattle raid at Moite, a lace about 75-90 km north of Loiyangalani on the shore of Lake Turkana, by the Gabra (one of the tribes in north Kenya). One of the Turkana men had been shot, in both legs and through one testicle. The raid was Saturday night.

Monday about noon the merchant who’d been hired to go get the injured man got back to Loiyangalani (it’s the closest airtrip). I took him to Wamba hospital, and have since heard he’s doing well. Tough man…shot twice and survived 2 days with just minimal treatment.

So…what price a man? About 20,000 kenya shillings to get him from Moite to Loiyangalani, and another 23,000 for me to fly him to Wamba. That translates to a total of 43,000 shillings, or about $750.

The man’s father told Jim Teasdale, who arranged both the merchant and the flight, “I’m not wasting 20 goats (selling them) on someone who’s probably going to die anyway.”

Another part of the mind-set. A man’s status in the tribe is allabout how many animals he owns. The drunkard who no one likes, who never finished primary school, but who owns 500 cattle is listened to before the MP (member of Parliament) who went to Harvard and graduated with honors, but only owns a paltry 100 cattle. Along with status, animals are wealth. But beause of the tie in between status and wealth, the owners are VERY reluctant to ever sell the animals.

Not a mind-set I deal well with, but it does explain oher things, like why it’s so difficult to keep animals off the airstrip at Gatab. I don’t own any animals, so my status is rather low, comparatively. And they value the lives of the animals more than that of the herdboys, or me and my passengers on the airplane.

I know that sounds rather cynical, or bitter, but it is true. The question that remains, is how, as a Christian, does one respond?

The easy part of the answer is to keep working on keeping the animals off…finish the fence, enforce the no animals policy, etc. I have a duty to yself and my passengers, and the herdboys with their animals, to keep them safe while I operate the airplane. I’ll leave the harder part of the question to your imagination. I’m still working on it, for one thing.

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