One Really Unique UU Congregation: Loitokitok
Holding the congregation's banner
My friend Justine Onsare is the pastor of one of the most unique UU congregations in the world made up almost entirely of Maasi! On Wednesday, April 24, 2013, members of the Ruai and Kitengela UU Congregations drove down to meet me for a visit to Justine's congregation in Loitokitok beneath Mt. Kilimanjaro. We never suspected what we would find. Justine and colleagues led us off the paved roads at Kisama onto dirt roads and then dirt paths and finally across grassland to the Maasi boma where we worshiped under the trees with elephants at the treeline. We were greeted with all of the graciousness for which the Maasi are famous and joined in the dancing where I had the honor of holding their congregational banner. As honored guests, we watched a goat being skinned to demonstrate the freshness of the meat. Children from their school beneath the trees did singing and recitations for us. The choir of women and young men sang traditional songs about peace, unity and care for the earth during worship. A few hours later, Maasi neighbors were still joining the gathering after a long trek. These Maasi have generously donated four acres of land among them to the church for a school. It wasn't long before the city UUs and the rural UUs were talking about bringing many of the orphans in their care to this beautiful spot for a new home. These photos were mostly taken by Leon Nyongesa who is reporter for Ruai UU Congregation.