I have learnt that when drought is prolonged, Samburu women trek to their sacred mountain Oloolookwea and pray to Enkai for rain to cover their homes again. I have learnt that the Dik Dik, the smallest of antelopes, mates for life and when one loses a mate the one left behind gives up on life and soon dies.
I have learnt that the Samburu have their own version of the Big Five – the Generuk which is the most graceful of antelopes. The Grevy’s zebra of the delicate thin stripes. The reticulated giraffe, towering still but with a hide that represents a more abstract version of their cousins. The stunning long horned Oryx and the proud Somali ostrich round out the Samburu special. Beautiful wildlife species all found in a small area of the world, just north of the equator along meridian 37.
I have learnt that the Samburu rite of passage only happens once every 14 years so woe unto you if you miss it at age 12. Graduation to warrior class will only happen at 26 and eligibility for marriage when you become an elder at 40. Cousins to the Maasai, the Samburu are gentler, deeper, they smile more, just as strong but less fierce. I think it may have something to do with the constant and ever present beauty of that flat topped mountain.