We are pleased to announce the launch of our Revitalise the Roots: Bikaptorois project, starting in Spring 2023. This program is built and shaped alongside the Endorois people of Kenya to record and protect their elder indigenous knowledge systems. Please read on for a story from our team member, Kibet Cheruiyot, on the importance of this work…
My name is Kibet Cheruiyot. My pen name is Amkich Karanja. A nickname earned from my late grandfather a bout 30 years ago. I am a passionate narrative writer based on real life experiences from Baringo County Kenya. A home of the nilotic people of Endorois. A minority sub-tribe of the larger Kalenjin People. I am a teacher, a story teller and a friend of the environment.
My writings are available on this site and all social media platforms under the name @Amkich Karanja.
As years go by, people grow old, generations pass by, cultures are lost in the process of being to the next generation. The evolution of the cultures and the transition of these practices across communities of the world has not spared the people of the Endorois community. This site seeks to enhance and preserve the great things about their culture. Years from today we won't have a traditionally dressed woman. The art of piercing the ears of women and men alike will have been lost. This site will be there. This is a deliberate intention to ensure the next generation gets to know the beautiful things about our culture and not just pass it on but also practice it.
My grandmother is aging and now almost approaching 100. I meet her every weekend and we get to catch up on the few events that have happened over the week. She no longer walks and only sits on her wheelchair most of the day as she alternates between bed and basking the sun.
She is a description of an original endorois woman. Partly dressed in her traditional attire, my grandmother refuses to let go of her bangles. Her earrings. Her bracelets and many others. Her ears are pierced and adorned with hanging pieces of the traditional hang ons!
And there are many like her. Aging and getting frail. Soon there will be none like her. Soon there will be no old woman who understands the reason for the ear piercings. The reason for greeting with the right hand and the recipe for the traditional brown ugali. Soon there will be no one to interpret the sweet music from the Endorois Cultural Dancers. Because we are losing our first language. The children are going to school, speaking foreign languages both at home and school.
There is a need to preserve this indigenous Knowledge and heritage.
We grew up around grandmother's house. Always huddling around the fireplace to listen to her scintillating stories of ages on end. Sometimes they were very intriguing, sometimes very scary and others horrific. Eventually l, each an every of these tales carried a weighty lesson on morality, economic empowerment, responsibility and even maturity amongst many other fields.
April holidays was about community land ploughing. We would meet at the grazing fields. Play childhood games and race around. We would fight over small differences and more often be beaten up by a random passerby. It was a community responsibility to bring up a child.
December came with the ever exciting traditional circumcision festivities for the boys. We longed for the nights that we visited them in seclusion. We longed for a dreadful encounter with the initiates while on their hunting escapades. Sometimes their attire scared even the cows and we all ran away in fear.
Slowly, the villages are getting quiet. No more fanfare. No more stories by the fireplace. No more cross generational respect especially across agesets. A man of a particular ageset would never marry a girl whose father shared the ageset. Soon this abomination will be ignored if culture is not preserved and passed on to the next generation.
Soon, we will have no one to prepare mursik, the endorois sour milk. Soon, a boy will marry from a clan that has been disallowed for compatibility reasons.
There's a lot we can do to pass on these beautiful values within our Endorois people.
The Revitalize the Roots Initiative: Bikaptorois is helping to safeguard the indigenous knowledge systems of the Endorois people. This is by working with the Endorois youth and elders to record the knowledge and stories of our elders before it’s too late. We are starting the project this year, contributing to rewriting our future.
Be sure to always come over and enjoy the tales from our land. Recommend this site to a friend. Share it to a platform and have people read. Our identity precedes our destiny and that's why we need to make everyone have a feel of the rich culture of the Endorois people.