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:
As the rain and the snow, come down from heaven, and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
These verses have been a great encouragement to me. God’s Word has gone out in Lchakwai and many surrounding communities. We are not there now to water the seed, yet God promises His word will accomplish what He desires and achieve the purpose for which He sent it. Remind God of this promise and pray for a rich harvest among the Samburu in these communities.
Samburu men in general, are more resistant to the gospel than women. Most Samburu churches consist of women, children, some youth, and a few men. The Samburu elders of Lchakwai are known to be very resistant to change and development. Earlier this month, the elders of Lchakwai told us, and a Samburu pastor, to leave Lchakwai, and take all our belongings with us. They gave us one week to leave. They said they do not want us to build a church in Lchakwai. Pray for the Samburu women of the church in Lchakwai. Pray that they will continue to meet to worship God and will continue to follow Jesus. Pray that God will work in the hearts of Samburu men at Lchakwai.