Sunday, July 29, 2007

Tribal Fusion

Sunday – and around here that means that most of the people in the area are attending their church. At the AIC church in Kijabe, today was a special event unbeknown to me. Today was “Culture Celebration” Sunday – apparently the first one of its kind. The pastors had invited six of the major tribal groups in the region to send a representative group to perform for the service. They are the Kikuyu, Kamba, Masai, Karinga, Luo and Turkana tribes. Once you have been here a while you can start to visually recognize some of the tribes – not by their dress but by their facial characteristics. I suppose over time the genetic mix will be so diffused that tribal features will be lessened by cross-tribal marriages which are now common. Tribal friction has been an issue here in the past and clearly part of the churches mission here has been to put an end to tribalism. The pastor spoke this morning that each person is to be seen as a child of God and that’s all that matters. So today’s event, with its joyous singing and rhythmic dance, was part of that strategy. After the service, each tribal group had a table out in the warm, sunny grounds around the church where they offered samples of their favorite dishes for anyone to try. The Masai’s grilled goat rib slab was most intriguing…

I did round today on my sickest patients – our service is at 20 patients with 30% of them with AIDS related illnesses. “Ruth”, who was in my last report, is awake, breathing on her own, moving all extremities, and talking now. She is not yet back to her baseline as she is confused but has made great improvement in the last 24 hours. Tomorrow, Elizabeth joins me on our team and we are on call so are bound to get a slew of new patients. Time for a nap.

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