Sunday, November 8, 2015

Camping at the Nawi

Camping at the Nawi. 

The Nawi, when translated, simply means cattle camp or corral.  I had heard that a few men from a recent volunteer team were going to go share stories and “camp” at the cattle camp.  I had visited these camps several times, but I have never had the opportunity to stay the night.  I was thrilled when they asked me to come with them, but as soon as I accepted the invitation I began thinking to myself “what have I done?” 

The cattle camp is where all the “warrior” age men take the cows during dry season to find grass.  Sometimes it is days away, while other times it may simply be over a mountain range or somewhere a little closer.  Thankfully this time it wasn’t too far away, but it was far enough away that we knew we were nowhere near the comforts of home.  Each person brought with them a bottle of water, a cloth wrap to use as a blanket, and a small stool, called an ekicholong.  There were no tents, there was no food, we wanted to be as close to the Karamjong men who were staying there as possible. 

We actually had a four-course meal.  The next paragraph is not for the faint of heart, nor for my mother who will kill me when she finds out what we ingested.  Anyway, The first coarse was a very large, hollow gourd full of fresh cows milk passed around until we finished it.  The second course was a different, bigger gourd of homemade “yogurt” at least that is what we told ourselves mentally, It was quite chunky and it was about as horrible as it sounds. It took a lot to get it down, but we each did our part as the gourd was passed around.  We took as much as we could and smiled as a group of nationals watched in anticipation for us to try this delicacy. The third course was cow’s blood cooked over a fire. It had the consistency and taste of liver and was actually my favorite of the four.  A little salt however, would have gone a long way. The last course was all three courses mixed together in a container and passed around.  I then chewed about 4 pieces of gum and passed the rest around for everyone to try.  My American friends greatly appreciated the fresh taste of mint.

The moon was full, the night was cold, the fire was warm, and our bellies had about a ½ gallon of warm milk inside them.  If I weren’t laying on a rock and a root I would have fallen asleep by 9:00.  However we stayed up another hour or so listening to the team tell 4 different Bible stories. They did a great job and presented a very clear Gospel.  I feel like after all we had to eat and drink a church should have sprung up right then and there, however contact has been made and Christ has been preached and shown.  We slept about fifty feet away from a few hundred cows.  I kept thinking I hope my friends, the Turkana people, don’t decide to go cattle raiding tonight as they often do.  In the back of my mind I knew where several nearby rocks were in case I needed to find cover in the middle of a gun battle. That was the last thought I remember before the cowswoke me up about 4 hours later.  The men had a very long journey the next day to find enough pasture to feed their cows.  As they left at 4 am so did we.  It was a great cultural experience and helped to show a glimpse of what this ministry may look like in the future.

* Please check back in one week to hear an update on this story.  Also, continue to check back as we have several stories scheduled to be released over the next few months.

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