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Is nine-year-old Marakwet boy present-day Samson?

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By Fred Kibor | February 6th 2015

ELGEYO MARAKWET: Call them foolish. Brand them a gullible and impressionable lot. Call them a bunch of liars, if you wish. But whatever you say, you are unlikely to sway the belief of residents of Kararia village, Marakwet East Sub County, for even an inch.

In fact, don’t dare waste your breath for you would be preaching to the already converted. The villagers have chosen to believe the unbelievable. And no one can turn them from their ‘laughable truth’.

It is laughable because they believe what sounds like a tall tale of a nine-year-old boy. They claim the boy single-handedly lifted a huge dead tree, which was lying flat on the ground and made it stand upright, back on its original position. It is a laughable and ridiculous claim because the only human being, who could have, perhaps, done this was the biblical Samson.

But they still believe that the boy (name withheld) achieved the feat with his tiny, black fists. They also believe the tales of his alleged witnesses—young boys who were in his company that day in Embobut Forest—when he performed the “miracle”.

According to his father, the boy requested his peers to step aside so that he could lift the dead Podocarpus tree. “He told his friends he wanted to lift the tree,” narrated the father, a Catholic catechist.

His peers are, however, said to have dismissed him, reminding him that he was only a boy, just like themselves and incapable of the task. They were, however, left aghast when he did it.

But there is something that makes even strongest skeptics, to want to believe that the tree, which is said to have been felled by a heavy downpour three years ago, was put back to ‘life’.

The dead tree, now stands out in the forest with most of top part chipped off. Women claim they are responsible for this, but say when they chipped it for firewood using axes, the tree was lying down.

Is it possible that the women are lying, and that they actually climbed the tree and hewed it from the top?

Inevitably, the boy has become the talk of the village with locals and non-locals still visiting the site to see the ‘miracle’ with their own eyes.

But just how did the Standard Four pupil attain this feat, if he actually did? “Somebody came and talked to me in a dream that the tree needed to be restored back to life and I was instructed to undertake the task,” explained the shy boy. The villagers have interpreted that ‘somebody’ to be ancestral spirits.

In fact, those conversant with his family’s history see him as a reincarnation of his great grandfather, whom they claim had powers to command ‘things’ and they would react as he ordered them.

His father says before the incident, his son had been complaining he was having nightmares. He also claimed that his hands were getting ‘bigger’. “He had been having nightmares at times, saying his hands were getting bigger and in other instances, he says he sees people who are near him being far away,” said the father adding they moved the boy to a far school to avoid being disturbed by locals.

HOLY ROSARY

The alleged lifting of the tree has disturbed the deeply Christian family, leaving them convinced, just like the village elders, that the boy was in communication with their ancestors.

Consequently, elders have held a special session to cleanse the boy. Christians on the other hand have conducted prayers for him.

“I made him have a holy rosary in an attempt to ward off the nightmares,” revealed the father who said the nightmares that haunted him have since ceased.

The father said since birth, his son has been behaving like a mature person, even at times making decisions that can only be attributed to elders.

After the bizarre incident, local elders are convinced that the boy is in communication with ancestors. “We are convinced this boy has been used by ancestors to send messages to us and elders should decode the meaning of this incident,” said Elkana Kiplagat.

Another elder, Michael Kipkore, who was among the elders who were involved in the cleansing of the boys involved in the incident, said more still needs to be done to ensure that bad omens do not befall the community.

“We have done all we can and some senior elders will soon visit the area and do more cleansing to appease the ancestors and possibly they tell us the meaning of the fallen tree rising up,” he said.

Kipkore said they have instructed the locals to leave the tree untouched lest they face the wrath of the ancestors. They also want the area fenced off.

But even as elders grapple to decipher the meaning of all these, the young boy appears to have a hint on mystery of the dead tree that he lifted up. He has consequently warned the residents against cutting down the tree. “This might be a home to someone,” he cautioned and asked residents to conserve the forest.

SPECIAL RITUAL

Elders say the boy is a reincarnation of his great grandfather who did miraculous things in his life. A cleansing ceremony has already been done, where the elders slaughtered unblemished ram, local brew known as ‘muratina’ and an animal stomach entrails known as ‘eiyat’. These concoctions were mixed and a special ritual conducted to appease the ancestors.

“The boy was named after his great grandfather who was an orkoiyot (prophet), who could see and tell the future,” said Mzee Luka Cheboi, a Marakwet elder.

Cheboi said the boy should be observed keenly so that he does not use the power to advance evil deeds in the community but rather use them for the benefit of humanity. “We are convinced the boy is in communication with ancestors and what he does is what our forefathers are telling him,” he claimed.

But Keiyo elder Fredrick Chesang said the boy’s family should appease the ancestors.

“In the past, we have had individuals abusing such powers to bring calamity. This should never be allowed to repeat itself,” he said.

Anglican Church of Kenya North Rift Region Vicar Reverend Maritim Rirei said such miracles do exist but it depends on where powers come from.

“It is possible because in most religions and African culture, miracles do exist and even during Biblical times, ordinary people who were not prophets performed miracles,” said Rev Rirei.

He said in Nandi, a man cursed a tree and it dried up after he found his missing goats having been eaten under it.

“We should separate powers which are God-given or human and if the boy in question was named after his great grandfather who had such powers, then it is true,” said the cleric.

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