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:

A New Age Set

This is a very significant time for the Samburu. In August a new ‘Age Set’ will be initiated. Boys from all over Samburu will be circumcised and form the basis of the Age Set. They will begin their 14 years of being moran, the warriors and defenders of the tribe. Some of these boys are only 12 years old, the oldest ones may be 25 years old. Some boys from this area have seen the Jesus Film repeatedly. Some have believed in Jesus and two have been baptized. Pray especially for those boys, that they will continue to follow Jesus first throughout this time. Pray that this entire Age Set will seek to know God and that many will follow Jesus.

Samburu Reaching Samburu

A very encouraging thing has been happening in Samburu land. Samburu pastors have been joining together to reach out to the Samburu people in a certain area where a small church already exists. Most of these little churches have only one or two men who regularly participate. What an encouragement for the Samburu men to see seven to ten pastors visiting their homes. Pray with us that these weekend outreaches will bear much fruit. Pray especially that Samburu men will join the Samburu women in praising God.

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