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:
God has heard and answered our prayers on behalf of the pregnant Samburu girl. The woman who had planned to organize the abortion has given up on that plan. After listening to my words, that it is very bad before God to kill the baby, she has decided not press for an abortion. That is a small miracle in itself! God convicted her heart and changed her mind! However, prayer is still needed. The girl will return to her parents’ home. It is quite likely that her parents may insist on an abortion. I told the woman to tell her parents that it is very bad to kill the child inside their daughter. She said she would. Pray with us that the girl’s parents will be convicted by God and that their minds will also be changed. Pray that they will allow the child to be born.
It is happening again! A Samburu girl is pregnant, and an abortion is planned! The Samburu believe that it is a very bad thing for an uncircumcised Samburu girl to give birth to a child. They say the child would be unwanted. They fear that because of its birth other children in the home may die. They believe the best solution is abortion. The way they practice abortion can be quite dangerous for the pregnant girl, even life threatening due to infection.
We have been aware of this happening several times in the six years we have lived among the Samburu. We have tried to reason with the people involved. We have tried to convince them that this practice is not pleasing to God. In fact, it is the greatest sin that Samburu recognize, a Samburu killing another Samburu. Yet the abortions have taken place and if nothing changes, they will continue to take place.
Please pray with us, that this one girl may be allowed to give birth to her baby. Pray that the baby will grow up loved and wanted. Pray that Christians and non-Christians will recognize that this practice is not good, indeed it is sin. Pray for a miracle. Pray for a change in this one aspect of Samburu culture.