The Samburu of Kenya
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:
Please continue to pray with us for Samburu men to seek to know Jesus. Pray especially that some men will dare to attend church. Several men have said that they will come, but we are still waiting to see them on Sunday. We have considered a meeting just for the men. Pray for wisdom as to how we can reach out to the Samburu men. Pray for God’s Spirit to work in the men and draw them to Jesus.
Praise God that 20 Samburu women, or more, are attending our Sunday services. There has been talk of baptism. At least two of the women are eager to be baptized. There has also been talk of building a church building. However, the funds for that are lacking as the women strive to get enough money to buy the food they need. Pray that God will lead and give us wisdom as to how to go forward.