el-molo shrinesLake Turkana Northern Kenya Travel Destinations 

Exploring El-molo Shrines In Loiyangalani, Lake Turkana

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El-Molo is a Masai word meaning people who cannot walk. They arrived in Lake Turkana region in the year 1896 along the Samburu, Masai, Rendille and the Turkana community who inhabited before moving further east and south leaving the El-Molo community behind. Like any other African societies, the El-Molo people who are among the minority tribes in Kenya had their places of worship and where they could pray to God and offered sacrifices for rain, marriage, curse and barrenness.
To carry on with their rituals the El-Molo people have four shrines at the Lorian Island that they believe are sacred. The shrines represent the four clans of El-Molo tribe. Every clan is believed to have power hence every shrine is dedicated to every clan. The prays are led by old men who are believed to be powerful in the community.
The first shrine is dedicated to barren women in the society. All the barren women in the community were taken to this shrine where these old men from the Lekapana family prayed for their fertility.
The second shrine was dedicated to young men who wanted to get married. Every El-Molo man is required to kill a hippo before getting married. All men were required to go to the shrine to be prayed for Before going for the raid. After the prayers men would go as far as central Island and Kobi fora to hunt for hippos. After the hunt they would come back home singing of joy and successful hunt which was their ticket to marriage. To protect the hippos in the region and keep the culture of this people the KWS has come into terms with the community where 30 men are allowed to kill one hippo. The last El-Molo man to kill a hippo for marriage was in back 1974.
Rain is very important in this dry and hot part of Kenya hence El-Molo had to dedicate the third shrine for rain. The community members gather at this shrine singing and offering sacrifices for rains.
Every tribe has bad people who are murderous, witches and sorcerers, fornicator and adulterous or people who do arts that are forbidden within the society. The El-Molo people had a very unique way to curse such people in the community before being excommunicated. Such people were taken to the fourth shrine from where they were cursed, banished and chased away never to come to the community again.
These shrines have been icon of unity among the El-Molo people since it represents all the clans. It kept the community in mutual harmony during communal events and anybody who did against societal norm was at risk of being excommunicated from the community with the power of these shrines.

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