Today we went to visit a 90ish year old man who is one of the main spiritual leaders of Rumbek. In Dinkaland he is called a Spearmaster and can talk directly to Nhialic, the creator god. He heals, gives guidance, and is honoured by his community. We felt priviledged that he was willing to let a bunch of kawajas (foreigners) come and talk with him.
He told us about the signs he received that told him he had been chosen by Nhialic to be a spearmaster. The first sign was a peircing pain in his chest as a child. It didn’t kill him and it went away by itself! The second sign happened when he was playing a game with peanut shells. At one point he threw down the shell and it turned into a lizard! The third and final sign occurred after his initiation rites. He became very strong, went into the bush and killed 270 buffaloes. One bull buffalo was cut open and inside another bull buffalo was found. Two of the buffaloes were specially coloured so he brought them into town to sell. He received much money for them and then went into the local river and stayed under the water for 7 days. After coming out from the river he had become weak, lost his eyesite, and gained the full power of a spearmaster.
As we were leaving he wanted to bless each of us by using a giraffe tail to sprinkle water on our feet. He gave each us a special prayer. For Joel (in the picture Joel is wearing rubber boots because it had just rained) he said that Joel would travel peacefully for his whole life. He told me that I would have a son named Jinub, which means South (i.e. South Sudan) whose heart would be in this country helping the people. Wow.
On a related but side note I have a Ugandan prayer (the noun, not the verb – i.e. a praying person) as well who keeps reassuring me that he is not forgetting to ask God to send me a blessing of twins, just like his own wife’s recent blessing.
Hmm, are the heavens trying to tell me something?