Memories of Kenya – 1962

A very good rafiki who used to farm in Kenya, sent this to me from a rafiki of his, who had farms at Ol’Kalou, and close-by Gilgil township (infact I think the War Memorial cemetery on top of the nearby hill to Gilgil town ) is on his old Gilgil property, which is where Ole Misoi worked…time frame of when he said kwaheri to his old friend, I expect about 1962
Ole Misoi did not know his age . He could not read or write. Written language was unheard of. His signature was his thumbprint.He was born three days walk from Narok in a mud hut. Judging from his appearance he was in his late fifties. He was fine featured, lean with a long thin face and of obvious Hamitic genes. He wore trousers and a red cloth drooped over his left shoulder He always carried a spear which was about as long as his six foot frame. He sniffed snuff which he carried in a small silver tin and had this ritual of beating the lid three times before taking out a small bit of the snuff with the top of his thumb nail and feeding it through each nostril with deep breaths. He also chewed tobacco which he carried in a separate tin with small pieces of saltpeter. Periodically he would place a small piece of tobacco on one side of his bottom lip and gum and then repeat the process with a small piece of saltpeter on the other side. He always had slight lumps on his bottom jaw. He wore sandals made from old car tyres and had extended ear lobes which drooped to about a third of the length down his neck with a beaded wrist band on one wrist and an elephant hair bracelet on the other. 
He was a man of few wasted words . He was a Masai. Ole Misoi controlled a large mob of cattle about 3 miles from the dip yard. The only time we saw him with his mob was on dipping time when he came down the Mountain leading his mob in a cloud of dust to the dip. He never believed in pushing cattle . He always led, making sounds like OOHOO and the whole mob would follow him to the dip yard. It was quite remarkable and Ole Misoi would always explain that he understood animals. 
We were sitting on a huge rock . I had come to say Kwaheri. 
We had been together for many years in good times and others not so good. He recalled losing so many to a pack of wild dogs who only fed on the animals when the carcass was warm and then went onto the next one. Every time he tried to intervene with his spear, they came for him. 
I asked him what he was going to do. He replied that he will return to Narok and never work for anybody again. 
He then proceeded for the first time to talk freely. He reminded me that most of the so called White Highlands was ex Masailand and that an agreement had been signed with the Masai regarding this land. The Masai according to Ole Misoi had no objection to the status quo remaining as they were never going to get it back anyway. He felt that all the other tribes had their land and the settlers should get their land also. 
I am sure others have pondered also as to the quality of the leadership representing the White Africans at the time. Whether they were completely outmanoeuvred by those representing the extreme political movements of the other side. Why was an area which had contributed more especially in areas of modernising, health and the economy than all the other tribal reserves put together (and signed a treaty with the Masai ), isolated for special treatment of dismemberment? 
 Ole Misoi had a point didn’t he? 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s