Picture this ........ without pictures!

Ronnie___maggie_3 Posted by Ronnie & Maggie Briggs on Tue, 02 Jun 2009 | 8 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to del.icio.us Post this to Facebook

We were on our way to Oltiasika – one of our rural development Centres about 6 hours drive from Isinya – to do some repair work on the Guest House there. I want you to picture this using only your imagination – try to put yourself in this same position without the help of pictures.

After only about 45 mins drive we came across the first dead cow – lying abandoned at the side of the road. As we were expressing our real concern for the people who lost this animal we came across another one, and then quickly thereafter another – only this time it had been skinned so it was lying completely ‘naked’ and seemed to express the depth of despair being experienced. At least the hide was worth something to the owner! As the journey continued we came across countless dead animals – including Zebra. The Maasai say that they know a famine is particularly bad when the Zebra start to die as they have the most resistance to drought.

After a long silence and looking at the situation unfolding before us the Maasai Elder in the Land Rover with me said ‘The place where we are heading is not a good place.’

Our drive took us through huge expanses of savannah land and there was not one living thing to see – the grass had been completely grazed down to bare earth and the dust plumes rising behind the Land Rover bore witness to the level of drought and famine being experienced in the whole area of Kajiado.

On our return journey the following day we came across a small herd of cattle standing looking forlorn and hardly able to walk at all. One cow was lying down and making no effort to get up, another was down but trying to stand. It was so weak its legs were shaking with the effort required, while the herdsman was standing behind it trying to help it to stand. The Maasai know that if they can just get the cattle to stand then they will continue to live – it is when they cannot rise that they know the end has come. And we were only seeing what was happening at the side of the road we were travelling on. What about in the interior where there are no roads and no people from outside to witness the catastrophe that is unfolding before our eyes? I actually thought about taking a photo but stopped myself. What would such a photo show? How could it express the level of suffering we were seeing? Why should I take such a photo, surely I don’t need a photo to move me to respond to a situation like this? I put my camera away feeling a little bit ashamed that I nearly undermined the privilege of being allowed to work in a place like this by putting on public view the distress of suffering loss.

Many of the owners of the dead cattle we saw will be going to some of our Churches in the Diocese on Sunday – places like Meto, Namanga, Magadi, Kajiado Cathedral, Torosei, Loitokitok, Isinya and Oltiasika – names familiar to many of you who are reading this blog. Our Pastors will have to minister to them and support them in whatever way they can. They will not be able to put much into the collection bag as they simply do not have it. This means that the Churches are unable to support the Diocese and this in turn prevents the Bishop from making his pastoral visits to some of these Churches to bring spiritual support and encouragement to those who need it most.

This is the reality that we are working under here in Kajiado and so it brings with it huge challenges that are difficult to meet.

It’s like having a nightmare in which you are standing in line at the ATM and as you wait your turn you realise that the person in front of you is using your card! You note that he has your bank balance on the screen and then he begins to enter your pin number and proceeds to take out all your money from your account. You try your best to stop him but somehow you can’t get through to him and before you know it your account is empty. The people here have no control over what is happening and are standing helplessly watching their livelihood disappear in front of them. Anyway, nobody wants to buy animals that are in such poor condition.

The weather forecast here is not encouraging and the govt has said that there will probably not be sufficient rains to complete a maize harvest. Apart from lack of food for the people, this also means that there will not be sufficient grass for livestock grazing and insufficient water in the waterholes and dams across the land. There has been some rains in a few selected areas. The Maasai are moving in big numbers into these areas with their cattle and this will add a huge strain on the grazing of such large herds and very quickly the grass will be finished. All the other areas are just simply dry.

Please pray for the Bishop and all the Church Leaders as they face this reality over the next number of weeks and months. Pray for wisdom to know how best to respond to such need.

Picture this and plead to our God – who is able – to bring blessing in such circumstances.


Denise Baker said Wed, 10 Jun 2009 08:38PM
It only seems like yesterday when i was making the same journey with you and Maggie to Oltiasika, instead of the Easter weekend.The journey seemed never ending, hot and dusty to say the least, and we were anticipating the rains coming even then. There were signs of drought all around and the cattle were weakening from lack of grazing.I was very saddened to hear about the animals and the impact it will have on the Maasai people.My thoughts and prayers are with you all as you strive to find solutions to deal with the drought and famine and I pray that God will send his blessings and give wisdom to Bishop Tamaa and all the Church leaders involved in the Kajiado Diocese. I wish I could bottle up all the rain here in N.Ireland and send it to Kenya! Keep up the good work. lots of love Denise.
Julie Willis said Wed, 17 Jun 2009 12:22PM
'Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.' Hebrews 4v16 My prayers are with all of you in Kenya, the many special people I had the pleasure to meet and the many many others I never will. I pray that God would truly intervene and the rains would come. Julie
Velma Beattie said Mon, 06 Jul 2009 04:49PM
Hi, I was part of Ronnies Sunday School class at Lisburn Cathedral, x years ago. His passion for Kenya has eventually born fruit and I have been a volunteer twice at a school for orphans in Thogoto. It brings saddness to read that these wonderful people that you serve are suffering and our prayers as always are for Kenya. I will be back in Thogoto in October and would love to travel over to Kajiado. Thank you for your inspiration Velma
david scott said Mon, 06 Jul 2009 11:05PM
dear friends,lots of love from your friend david,my question,is the rev. john sakaya still alive,if he is,have you see him lately? God Bless. David.
Robbie Cowan said Tue, 13 Oct 2009 08:12PM
Hi to Ronnie,Maggie, Naiomi and Suzie - a month has passed since the St. Paul's (Lisburn) team has returned from Kajiado and I hope you are all in good health. We continue to pray for rain in Kenya and Kajiado in particular; checking the BBC web site tonight the weather forcast for you looks wonderful, continual rain interspersed with heavy showers! That sounds just about right, I only hope the BBC forcast is correct.God bless the work you are doing and thank you for allowing me to contribute during my time with you.
Theophilas sakaya said Sat, 30 Jul 2016 08:44PM
Hi' david scot.this is rev john sakaya's son.your brother john is still alive and doing good.GODis good all the time.contact me and i will tell you more.

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