King ole king – “KING!” Anyiny ole anyiny – “ANYINY!” Miee ole miee – “MIEE!” Sere ole sere – “SERE!”
Inside the bush, he said it vehemently, others agreeing in one loud accord, vehemently, immediately after he paused the two repetitive words. In great fear of being the odd one out, I mumbled trying to mimic the applause-like sentiments. Indeed I was the odd and so I shivered. I gnawed in anxiety.
In mixed feelings I stared helplessly to the multitude of young and old men sorrounding the little innocent me. They were very strong, demanding, loud, furious, even jinxed, and I felt it was the most sacred of places and a most ritual of ceremonies that ever happened to my life.
My mum, sister, friends and neighbours had left after wailing and screaming their loudest. To console me that things will work out ok, they gave me sweets and fewer gifts, earlier in the day.
“Amemuu lagookab bich!! Arye we Kipsongok. Arye we inye!! Arye we sarameek che kergey!! Hiy! Hiy! Hiy! Hiy! Hiy!”
Were the only shouts and cheers I heard. Until they left me alone to the mercy, or mercylessness of some strangers.
Trust me I numbed. I was sticked and immovable. I prayed in silence for a bailout by an immaginary angel that was never to be.
Worst happened immediately the loudest warriors shouted “Hoy” “Hoy” “Hoy” “Hoy” from a distance, with these close warriors guarding me responding in the same folklore! Abrupt dead silence ensued the noise. I squinted my eyes to see exactly what fate could bring next. Me and few others boys all made ready to face the highly valued passage ritual, sat together in a long queue. I didn’t see anything yet.
Under the cover of darkness, probably darkest hour of the midnight, I heard what they said running towards us with heavy sounding footsteps.
It was time
I stood in the same queue. I was number four. This gave me a little peace. You know why? In my mind I knew I was not the first one to face and embrace the most painful moment that actually later, like four weeks after, turned to be the most respected and celebrated moment in my life.
Quickly we followed the leading warriors under immense darkness. On my left were warriors. On my right too were and obviously some trailing us from the back. I kept wondering what this level of security was for. Nobody spoke to anybody until we all reached the spectacular spot ‘Holy Ground‘ if so to say.
Throughout the night, what happened is historic. I will never forget.
At dawn, I passed the test alive, successfully and I was pronounced “A Man” by men before many witnesses. In agreement I accepted the pass out and I immediately felt deep down inside that I have really become a man. In the morning when the sun lighted up the silver clouds of the serene sky, everybody was still quiet perhaps pondering what actually transpired throughout the night. Everything was calm like the nature had stood still in honour of the new “Graduates” of the Nandi Community. I loved it nevertheless. I am proud to be a Kalenjin Nandi man and I always love and acknowledge the respect, love and position that my community have given me. Being a man in Kalenjin is equivalent to being a leader in the community and also regarded as one of the important decision and policy makers.
There is no gain without pain.
There’s one more passage that is quite sweet as opposed to the previous one – Marriage, that it’s still under plan.
There are other posts I recommend you see about this blog and more on my manly interventions I have projected into Nandi Hills. Click the links below to view.