The Rendille of Kenya
Location and Background: The Rendille live in the Kaisut Desert east of Lake Turkana, as semi-nomadic pastoralists. There are two distinctive groups: the northern Rendille, who herd camels, and the southern Rendille who herd cattle as well, and are related to the Samburu with whom they intermarry—Ariaal Rendille live closer to main roads and have more contact with the outside world.
History: The Rendille are Eastern Cushitic peoples who migrated from the Suez Canal and Ethiopia, moving south to escape rivalry and conflicts over grazing land and water for livestock. Their oral history claims they are of Jewish descent and their Passover-type ceremony called Sorio (“sacrifice to God”) includes the slaughtering of a sheep by the first-born son and putting the blood on their doorposts.
Culture: The camel is their essential animal, and the development of boreholes has allowed them a less nomadic lifestyle. They live in “manyattas” or homesteads of 70-100 houses, and they dress in bright colors and wear beads. The men undergo various rites of passage to bring them into adulthood; young girls are often spoken for at an early age and marry very young. There is a place in every village called “nahapo”. This is a place of watching and prayer with a fire burning that is never to go out. Every night the men of the village meet there at 8:00pm and one man is designated to lead them in prayer.
Religion: The Rendille live between the Muslims to the north and Christians to the south. They rejected Islam since Rendille believe prayer should be made with their faces toward the heavens, not on the ground. They practice a traditional, animistic religion which includes prayer to the moon (which is considered a god), animal sacrifices and worship of ancestral spirits. They also have traditional religious practices that resemble those of Judaism. The name of their god is Wakh. The moon plays an important part in their religion. On the night of the new moon the first-born son of each family blows a horn with an accompanying prayer ritual.
Latest Prayer Updates:
We praise God that Tirrim Secondary School has officially moved to the new location! Students are enjoying the new classrooms, kitchen, chapel, dorms and space to walk and play sports. God is so good to bless us with this beautiful new campus.
We also praise God that we have a brand new borehole right outside the new campus! This is a huge answer to prayer, as the villages surrounding the new campus and our staff and students were all sharing one borehole. This becomes difficult during droughts, and also now a safety issue for our students. Now, the campus has its own and the community has their own. To God be the glory! Keep praying for the gospel to spread among the Rendille and for these students to each come to the true knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and grow in their faith.
Tirrim Secondary School is moving it’s location for second term, April 29th. This site gives us many benefits such as a better water supply, closer to the villages, and far from town so students won’t be distracted. We have come a long way with the building site and we are so thankful. But we have a long way to go. We are praying that God sends someone to Korr to be the project manager. Please pray with us that someone will come and the school will be ready for our students!