by Lantano Nabaala, Kenya Pastoralist Network
[Editor’s note: the following was a letter written to me by the founder of the Kenya Pastoralist Network, a organization consisting of members of pastoralist tribes who have dedicated themselves to creating sustainable peaceful solutions among warring tribe members. Lantano wrote to me to hold them in prayer. They had been “on the ground” for several weeks and had exhausted their funds and were unable to return to Nairobi until new funds arrived. They were tired and exhausted. But their problem and their delay in returning home turned out to be a solution to a bigger problem that was about to occur. Read on to see how releasing our attachments contributes to the greater good.]
One time, I was told by my father, “son, a problem in hand, is a solution of a problem on the way… so, always appreciate whatever is in your hands.”
Since we came to the Pastoralist region to mediate conflicts between tribes, we’ve not been able to go back to Nairobi, due to lack of funds. We are eating with them in the locality, we mingle with them. Over last weekend, a group of young men picked a quarrel with members of another tribe, normal rivals. Three guys were shot and injured, no fatalities. Immediately the other side’s youth converged and wanted to retaliate. But word went out to them that we were still around. I couldn’t believe that I was there, in a traditional small house, where before I went to sleep, I could count the stars in the sky from the traditional bed. I was called at 2.45 am, to intervene. Indeed, the avenging youth were very bitter. They seemed extremely ready to move with ferocious force to attack.
For some reason, I had boldness like I have never had in my whole life. I walked into the dark and pulled the gun away from the leader of the youth. Full of rage, these young men wanted nothing more than a massacre. I spoke with the clearest, most eloquent, moving words that I had never had before. For three and half hours, I spoke with them. I do not know where I got the energy and boldness in the dark. I walked in the dark, and by grace got straight to the leader. Where all that came from, I only attribute to God. I think I had some special assignment from above. Nobody was able to come near these youth before this. Everyone seemed to have given up; war was imminent. Within hours, there would have been death. It would take the security agencies from the government, at the earliest, 8 hours to be here.
By God’s plans, we were here! After much conversation, the young men, some of whom had elder brothers I used to go to war with their elder brothers, some of whom I had trained for war when they were young, these men finally accepted my plea and warnings. Instead of retaliation, they instead decided to reconcile, and all accepted a mode of punishment for the offending youth. Peace was re-accepted here!!
The whole of yesterday, we spent in traditional dancing and celebration of peace!!
Now I know that everything has a reason. Though my dad is still alive but very old, (97yrs), I appreciate most of the things he taught me!! Truly, a problem in hand IS a solution for a coming problem. Our not being able to go away from here must have been a solution to avert that war!!!
Thank you sooooooooooooooo much for I know these must all have come as a result of your prayers…. Thank you for the encouragements from you, and remember, just a thought of knowing that I have friends who support what we are doing gives me strength. It gives me inner energy, and INNER PEACE!
God bless you, greatly. Pass my love to Mike, the great warrior, and Elizabeth, the mother of the nation (that’s how we refer to men and women of peace here in the bush!!).
Lantano Nabaala, Kenya Pastoralist Network
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