'GOD LISTENS TO ALL PRAYERS'

Baringo elders conduct ritual to repel 'stubborn' virus

Sacred prayer done once a year to repel complicated pandemics

In Summary

• They began the ceremony by lighting a symbolic ‘immune fire’ at the hilltop, then surrounded it while chanting sacred songs. 

• Women dressed in traditional attire and carried old and anointed calabashes and palm sticks. 

Elders from remote Kimose village in Mogotio, Baringo county, hold traditional prayers to cast away the ‘stubborn’ coronavirus on Sunday.
'SANCTIFY OURSELVES': Elders from remote Kimose village in Mogotio, Baringo county, hold traditional prayers to cast away the ‘stubborn’ coronavirus on Sunday.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO

Traditional Tugen elders from Kimose in Mogotio have resorted to cultural prayers to curse the ‘stubborn’ coronavirus. 

The elders headed by ordained rainmaker Mzee Kigen Kiptoo aka Chebolee converged at Kaising’or Hill at the shores of River Perkerra on Sunday. The elders were both men and women.

“During the dry season we always pray and God listens by letting down the showers immediately.  Today, it is our sincere and humble prayer that the heavenly King takes away coronavirus,” the 70-year-old Kiptoo said. 

He said the disease has caused a standoff in the country as the population gets locked up in homes and activities are disrupted.

Covid-19 has so far killed six Kenyans while 158 have tested positive. 

The elders began the ceremony by lighting a symbolic ‘immune fire’ at the hilltop before surrounding it chanting sacred songs. 

A male soloist led the tune "Iwe...! Iwe.....! Ichumukte....! Iwe ne kimumut...!" loosely traanslated as ‘Go! Go! Disappear away wholesomely’. The rest of the group responded in unison. 

They started by filling their mouths with locally brewed honey alcohol mixed with fermented milk (mursik) in gourd which they sprayed in the air once 'to send away the disease'.

Besides, each of them brought foodstuff like maize flour, millet or sorghum which they spread randomly on pathways.

“The exercise took almost all day and no one was allowed to take anything away - not even a tin of water,” the elder said. 

Women, led by Kimoi Moindi, were dressed in traditional attire and carried old and anointed calabashes and palm sticks. 

“By the look of things this disease is not a joke and Tugen elders found it necessary to kneel before Cheptalel (God) to humbly ask him to calm his temper. We are doing this on behalf of Kenya and the entire world,” Kiptoo said. 

He was backed by Mzee Joseph Songol, 65, from Ng’embirir village who said God hears everyone’s prayer.

“Whatever wrong we did, as long as we sanctify ourselves, approach him with humility and ask for forgiveness, God will answer our prayers,” Songol said. 

He said the sacred prayer is done once a year in respective secluded places, depending on extreme conditions of the land, especially to repel complicated pandemics. 

The elders called on fellow Kalenjins and other Kenyan communities to join in by embracing their cultural prayers to ask God to heal the world of the Covid-19. 

Edited by R.Wamochie