The Samburu of Kenya

Population: 240,000

Location: Remote North Central Kenya greatly dispersed between Mt Kenya and Lake Turkana.

History: The Samburu are a Nilotic people who originally migrated from Sudan, settling in Northern Kenya centuries ago.

Culture: Their name comes from their traditional leather bag they carry called a ‘samburr’. They are related to the Maasai. They are semi-nomadic pastoralists, keeping cattle, sheep, and goats. They especially love their cattle. Like the Maasai, they believe all cattle belong to them, and cattle raiding is a major preoccupation. Young unmarried men are warriors, charged with protecting the village from lions and hyenas, as well as raiding other tribes’ cattle.
Both men and women adorn themselves with colorful beaded necklaces and the young men braid their long hair and coat it with ochre.
Elders rule the clan and their curse or blessing is taken seriously.

Religion: Animism. The Samburu believe in a creator god ‘Nkai’. They pray and seek his blessing. Their beliefs are expressed in their traditions and rituals, which they are very careful to follow. It is not uncommon for children and young people, especially women, to report visions of Nkai. A few children gain a reputation for prophecy throughout their lives. Samburu also have ritual diviners, called ‘loibonok’, who divine the causes of individual illnesses and misfortune. Sin has a very restricted meaning and therefore, many would say they have no sin.

Latest Prayer Updates:

New pastors!

We serve among the Samburu in Maralal, Kenya. A few weeks ago, eight men were licensed as pastors! Please pray for unity among the pastors and workers, and that their love for one another will show that they are truly disciples of Jesus (John 13:35).

Examples to the Flock

Pray for the Samburu believers to grow by learning to walk in the Spirit, not by the power of the flesh. Pray that they will not look only to their own personal interests, but also consider the interests and needs of others. Pray that the pastors will learn, understand, and live by the Scriptures, showing their congregations an example of faith, love and purity. Pray that the believers will honor their leaders and submit to them.

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