Boma blessing here in Maasai land is the equivalent of house blessing. A Boma is a compound that hold from one household to even five or more households. This is because of the polygamous culture of the people. A man with 4 wives for example will have 4 household in the same compound or Boma.
In the middle of the compound is the cattle shed which is the Centre of the social-economic life.
A house blessing involves many aspects of the lives of the people. Though the people are still converting to regular Christianity and more so to conventional Catholicism as far as the regulation in matters of faith and sacraments is concerned, majority of the people strongly believe that all they have is God’s doing and blessings. From getting a newborn in the family and among the cows, goats and sheep, to recovering from illnesses and after mourning their loved ones, the people here feel the strong urge to thank God for all his blessing.
On this occasion I went for a thanksgiving rite at the Boma of a man who had recovered from a lomg ilness. As I arrived at the homestead I met jubilation for a newborn of one of the wives of the man. She had just delivered a Baby a few minutes before I arrived.
The rite begins with a song, usually there is a choir made of the young girls and women of the Boma who begins the song and the men join in their harmonized different voices. Then a short introduction and reading from the scriptures. Afterwards there is a reflection to emphasize the relevance of the occasion. Then their is the blessing of the water which is used to bless all the People, the houses, the animals and their sheds.
The blessing begins from the main house going From right to left and back to the beginning. The direction is cultural and very important. Even greetings and sharing of meals is done from right to left.
Finally they offer their gifts usually a goat, a sheep or a chicken. Then a meal is shared in a festive and thanksgiving mood.
Fr. Lawrence Muthee, Svd
It is a rite of faith that is Engraved