Samburu Rites of Passage: Becoming Man & Wife

Sammy & Demaris’s Home

Sammy, Damaris, their daughters and nephew

Story 2 – Sammy is a Quaker pastor, 32 years old, now a student at Friends Theological College.  He met his partner Damaris 7 years ago while working as a research assistant 120 km from home; they were introduced by his American professor employer John Holtzman.  She, age 13 or 14 no longer was in school and was working at a resort.  They liked each other;  he visited and stayed with her family for a week A few weeks later she got very sick, was brought to Maralal nearer to his home; he came to see her, paying her medical expenses. He continued to see her whenever possible; she wanted to be with him and he beaded her.  This protected her from any other men.   She kept asking to get married and in love, he consented once she was 16. Before coming together there was a large village celebration joining the couple. Sammy slaughtered a bull and paid four cows as part of the bride price.  

Sammy preaching

Damaris at a women’s function

Although married in the eyes of his community, he looks forward to a Quaker wedding after he completes his studies.  He will pay the remaining seven cows to her family.  They have two children 16 months and 3 1/2 years and he is keen that they space their children, because “it is too hard on her”.  They have a loving, respectful relationship, and her life is much better now than it was before.  She is active in the church and enthusiastic about joining the Adult Literacy School to further her education.  

Girls from Shepherds School

Sammy as a pastor wants to change community norms, so girls can complete their education and not want to be married early.  Hopefully by the time his daughters are ready to marry, early beading and Female Genital Cutting will no longer be the standard.

Damaris at market with Sammy’s mother



About geetajyothi

Slightly over the hill Quaker physician passionate that education can transform lives and hopeful that the world will wake up to the imperative to respond meaningfully to the threat of climate change
This entry was posted in Health/Wellness, Indigenous People, Interconnection Kenya, Quaker, Sustainability and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Samburu Rites of Passage: Becoming Man & Wife

  1. Colin Saxton says:

    Thanks, Geeta, for telling a bit of Sammy’s (and family) story. He is a wonderful fellow and an able minister doing important work in Samburu. FUM appreciates your helpful ministry in Kenya this summer, as well, and your support of Friends there. Colin Saxton (FUM general secretary)

  2. Pingback: Fifteen Years Old – Empowered by Education | Change Insights

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