“Karam! Karam-nyo-man! Nyo-man!”
Tales from Pokot, Africa from Mike Crawford and Moe Lunn
This month, a team of Jacob’s Well’ers traveled to Asilong Village in the Pokot region of Northwestern Kenya, where Jacob’s Well has funded ten fresh water boreholes over the past few years and is now working on the construction of a secondary school (high school). Sam De Jong, Toby & Maureen (Moe) Lunn, and Mike & Macyann Crawford, along with Marc Steyer–an engineer from California who assisted with the school design–spent ten days in Asilong both assisting with construction and getting to know the Pokot people.
While in Asilong, Toby, Sam & Marc spent the majority of their time working alongside the Kenyan contractor and construction workers. They went over design plans, sourced materials, and worked on plotting out the site for the classroom building which will start construction in the Fall. The current building is a garage or storage building that is crucial to the long-term construction of other buildings and will also serve as a test building to ensure construction is happening properly.
Meanwhile, Mike, Macyann and Moe spent a lot of time visiting Pokot people in their homes along with Julius Sawe–a Kenyan missionary to the Pokot. With Julius translating, they were able to get to know people and their families and gain a greater understanding of the Pokot culture. They learned about what it’s like to live in a polygamous tribal culture, to depend on goats and cows for livelihood, and to have only in the past few years gained access to clean water.
Mike Crawford shares, “We were welcomed us with a warmth and hospitality that made us feel right at home. The People of Pokot always greeted us with an enthusiastic “Karam! Karam-nyo-man! Nyo-man!” (TRANSLATION: “I’m doing fine! I’m doing very fine! Very fine!) and a brisk, extended-length handshake whether we were on the trail, around the fire or entering their homes.
“I also enjoyed the Pokot people’s musicality. They sing loudly with little to no prompting. Before we left the States, Alan Keller taught me a couple of worship songs, one in Pokot (the language) and one in Swahili. I was able to bring a guitar with me and it was such a gift to get to play some music that they recognized and sang along with – the people lit up whenever I broke out these songs! “Something surprising to me were the friendships that quickly developed over the 12 days we were in Pokot. I went running one morning with a guy named Joel who I’d met around the fire the first or second night. As he was leaving me in the dust (running in his jeans and flip flops) he yelled back to me, “Mike! Are you okay?! Your breathing…it is very heavy!” “Yes Joel,” I shouted, “I’m okay! My running shoes are just slowing me down a bit…” We developed a great friendship over that next week. I’d like to close my reflections with an excerpt from Joel’s “farewell letter” to me…
“Mike, for the moment I know you would leave on Thursday, but I recognize our friendship will last forever, although we will be aparted by geographical distance but that one would not matter…”
No Joel, that one would not matter…although we are separated by a great distance, the love of Christ draws us near to each other’s hearts and that one is “very ok”!