October 10, 2005

Terik language meeting at Kapsengere 13th May 2000.

Min 1/5/00 Attendance
1. Mr. Mark Ragor ( Master of ceremonies)
2.Rev. Henry Kipruto
3.Asst.Chief Moses Kipng'etich
4.Ms. Miriam Sagasi
5. Mrs. Elizabeth Ndeto
6. Mrs. Teresa Tunge
7.Mrs. Ruth Ragor
8.Mr. Jason Kipkirui
9. Mr. Henry Kibitok
10. Mr.Benjamin Kipng'etich
11. Mr.Peter Sawe Biama
12.Rev.Simon Kattam
13.Mr. Stephen Songok
14.Mr.James Kiprop
15.Mr.William Koech
16.Cllr.John Mbaria
17.Mr.Jamin Chepkitui
18. Mr.Julius Kipruto
19.Mr.Charles Kipserem
20. Mr.Joseph Chemai
21.Mr.Hosea Kipserem
22. Mr.Joseph Chemai
23.Mr.Patrick Mang'esoy (TRANS. CONS.BTL).
24.Mr.Leslie Brinkerhorf (LPC BTL)
25.Rev. Micah Amukobole(General Secretary BTL)
26. Mr.Kipnyango Seroney ( facilitator)
27. Mr. Geoffrey Ragor (Secretary)

**Min2/5/00 Word from facilitator**
The facilitator welcomed all the members and the visitors to the meeting. he then called upon the master of ceremonies to conduct the meeting.

Min 3/5/00 Introduction
The master of the ceremonies welcomed the visitors and requested Rev. Henry Kipruto to open the meeting with a word of prayer as at 11:38 a.m.
The M.O.C stressed on the importance and purpose of th emeeting. That there are many different sub-groups of the Kalenjin is not debatable. But the Terik speakers have been referred to as the Nandi, Tiriki, other Kalenjin, etc.This confusion and anomally has been prompted by the fact that the Terik speakers, properly called Terikeek, do not have a literature in their own language. Again the Nandi ethnic dominace in the district have submerged them. He therefore urges the members to clear the air about this distinctiveness of the Terikeek people group.
The M.O.C goes ahead to introduce the members of the committee. During the course of introduction, one of the members inquired from Mr. Brinkerhorf whether he is the one (or has any relation to ) some white man who visited her family back in the 1970 and expressed his interest in writing the Bible in Terik language. Mr.Brinkerhorf, as it were, answered in the negative.
The BTL staff consisting of the threee members, Rev. Amukobole, the General Secretary, Mr. Brinkerhaorf, language Programmes coordinator, Mr. Mang'esoy a translation consultant, also introduced themselves.

Min4/5/00 Administration.
The acting assistant Chief welcomes the visitors to his administrative area of jurisdiction. He alleys his fears of how the Terik speaking community is dimminishing and looks forward to this meeting as being a resuscitator.

The councillor attempts to espouse on the differences between the Terikeek and Tiriki people groups since many outsiders have tended to refer to the two as one and the same. That the Terikeek are Kalenjins while the Tiriki are a Luhya sub-group of migrants who wanted to identify themselvs with the Terik speakers after adopting some of their customs especally the circumcision practice. However since they were bantu and could not clearly pronounce the name Terik without adding a vowel after the consonant 'k', they started calling themselves Tiriki. Consequently, whenever the Tiriki settled in the Terikeek land, they mispronounced and mispelled the terikeek names. Thus, Kibsambaay became Gisambayi,Cheebkaay became Jepkoyai, Kiboochi became, Givogi, Taambooyoo became Tambua and keribwa, became Iriva to mention a few.
He goes a head to submit that on other occassions, the Terikeek have been misnomerly referred to as Ny'ang'ori. This was anickname given to them by the Luos.This was because in the years gone by, the Terikeek used to graze their animals in what has become today the Luoland and when coming back home, out of hunger, they would pick cowpeas(Ng'or in Dholuo) from the grazing farms.Hence when the colonial administrators came, the Luo tol dthem that the Terikeek were actually called Ny'ang'oori. All these sum up to one thing. That the Terikeek as a people group speak Terik language which has been going through a linguistic and demographic decay.The councillor goes further to give the difference between the terik language and their Nandi neighbours. This difference to him is two fold: 1.Speech(lexical).Terik has a nasal while nandi has lateral. examples:

English Terik Nandi
Child Neekweet Laakweet
Hi! ? Inion ?I lion
2. Cultural semantics: In Nandi , a childless woman can 'marry' another woman to bear children for her.Such a thing is a taboo among the Terikeek.
He goes ahead to posit that many Terikeek have migrated to Nandiland where they have become leaders or administrators. And since in Nandi you cannot be enthroned as a leader unless you are one of their own, these Terikeek have camouflaged themselves and become Nandidized, both in speech and traitions. This state of affairs is also another factor which has accelerated the demise of the identity of the Terikeek as a society and linguitic losss.He adds that the Kalenjin sub-groups with close linguistic affinities to the Terikeek are the Sabaots and the Keyyo. There also exist a Terik speaking clan living among the Tugen of Baringo and Koibatek. In a nutshell, he submits that the Terikeek need the Bible in their language so that sermons will be in Terik. There was increased Nandi literature in Terik land. This shall also provoke the leraned Terikeek to write literature books in Terik language.
One very elerly man of the maina age-set( the oldest age set in Terikland as of now) insist that it high time the Terik language and people are recognized and not grouped together with the Nandi.This is because the Terikeek and Nandi have for a long time fought battles over cattle raids.He goes a head to give a brief description of Terikeek migrational trends.That the Terikeek originated from Mt.Elgon.They had a brief sojourn in Maseno before moving to their present day Terik. During the course of their miration and eventual settlement, the Terikeek never mixed or mutually interacted with the Nandis with whom they are now being forcd to mingle( via administration) and speak their language via school books. He also emphasis the fact that one major difference between the Terikeek and Nandi is in the age groups.While the Terikeek have 8 age groups exluding four extinct age-sets that originally totalled up to 12. These extinct sets were Bantaneen,Kaamuny'ar,Tamamut and Antaara, which the Nandi do not have.The Nandis have 7 age groups. The age-sets that are believed to hace graced the Mt.Elgon ancestors were as: Nkoroonkoro,Antaara,Kibkoymet,Kaabneenach,Kibny'ikeey,Ny'aanki ,Mayna,Chuumo and Saawe.
Another oldman of th emayna age group, expounds on the difference between the Terikeek and Tiriki.That the Tirikis original name was 'vaakwe' which they abandoned after adopting the Terikeek rite of circumcision.With time they overwhelmed Terikeek in number and started to change the Terikeek names like Muuchooche to Munzatsi.He submits that the headquartes of all Terikeek is Kapsengere.This is where all Terikeek refers to as their home.
One other oldman of the Mayna age-set group, revisited the migration of the Terikeek. That at Mt.Elgon, the old men and women who could not walk any further were placed in a cave and provided with food and other materials. They then blessed the young men and women and implored God to give them safe journey.According to this oldman, the Terikeek followed th eroute which had been used by the Kipsikiis up to Maseeno.It was at Maseeno that they changed their southward movement and came to earsterly to settle at their present day Terikeek country.The old man insisted that Terikeek as a community with their language have been dimishing since the time of colonial administration.That the white man gave each dialect its own leader.The Idakho were ruled by an Idakho, the wanga ruled by a wanga and the Nandi by a Nandi. But so with Terikeek who under a mysterious circumstances fall under a Maragoli leader. This happened when Soonoono son of Cheemakeet was chief of the Terikeek and his wife passed away.The Terikeek culture had it thata man who losses his wife in death must be confined inside the house for 30days until some rituals are performed.During thi time of confinement of Chief Soonoono Araab Cheemakeet, one Maragoli named Chweeya, a court interepreter at Kisumu got wind of it. Capitalising on the status quo, he went and reported to the white administrators that the chief had refused to to perform his administrative functions. Accompanied with Chweeya and and some Askaris, the DC( white man) cam eto Soonoono's home. On calling upon him to get out of his house to perform his duties, Soonoono answered from inside that he could not come out. Consequently Chweeya was declared the chief forthith.
immediately he assumed leadership,Chweeya begun purging exercise where he strived to drive away the Terikeek from their homelands a result many Terikeek ran away to Nandi and Kipsikiis areas where they were absorbed. According to him, Terikeek migrated from Mt.Elgon because at one time, Elephants trampled on their food crops hence took off to avoid being hit by hunger.

MIN 6/5/00 Mission
The beggining: The first missionaries cam eto terik speaking land in about 1908 and settled in the modern place called Ny'ang'ori. The Terikeek pople gave them free land to start up a mission centre. later the missionaries brought in Luhya groups to work there as their servants. It was this mixing that brought in alot of problems as the missionaries later gave their priority to them and ignored the Terikeek hosting them.The Missionaries were agains the Terikeek cultural practices and they condemned them in their teaching and preaching as very satanic and chased them from the mission centre. The missionaries also used Logoli the language of ther servants as a medium of instruction at the mission school.Rev. Henry puts it that for the Terikeek to survive they need the word of God as found in Math 28:19.He expresses his fears that the Terik language has been vanquished even in the church. That congregations in the church do not get the word in their own language but in Kiswahili. Even sermon books are written in Kiswahili.The version of the Bible they use is either the Kiswahili one or the Nandi-Kipsikiis Bible. He denotes that reading may not be such a big fuss, but the problem is comprehending what has been read.Consequently, people usually leave the church after having hardly undertood the word of God. He beseeched BTL staff to assist the Terikeek have the Bible in their own language in order to have the people understand the word of God and for the gowth of their churches.

Min 7/5/00 Language Use

Mr.Peter Sawe, Information technology specialist, succinctly puts own examples of words and names of the same things but differ in lexical use and pronunciation between Terik and their close kith and kin Viz:
English Terik Nandi Kipsikiis Sabaot
I thought Kaaneen kaleen Kaabore
Good Karaaran Mye karaam
oldman Booyyontet Boiyo Boonteet
Brush teeth Siny' kee Siny' kelek
he started Kachaakan katoy keenaam
Run Wiis labat
Stand Choony' Tonon Telel
Slap Syeech rabaach
Market Siiro Siret ndony'o
Porridge Muusereek Muser Rong'oriik
child Neekweet Lakwet
Mushroom Boobchaat bobat
cane Chwen Maas
He puts that some words in Nandi or Kipsikiis can mean a different thing in Terik. For instance the first word in Kipsikiis 'Kaabore' to mean I thought ,actually means I was killing in Terik language. When making speeches or reading the bible in the presence of the Nandi or Kipsikiis, the Terik speaker often than not find themsleves being laughed at, apractice they really abhor and detest to the hilt.It is for these reasons that the terikeek should have their Bible in their own language.

Min 8/5/00 Mother Tongue
One member sends the apologies of Mrs.Ruth Ragor who was meant to present this part but received an urgent call. She however puts it that she will do it on her behalf since she has been a primary school teacher teaching mother tongue in the lower classes for over 25 years. She submits that there is no existing Terik language mother tongue book for teaching mother tongue in schools. The only book which used to exist entitled 'ONETGE OSOMAN' was written in Nandi language. Consequently teachers end up teaching children Nandi instead of Terik language.Fortunatley or unfortunately, these Nandi books are nolonger in existence today.Just before they disappeared, teachers wrote them down the wordings in counter books. So as of now, Nandi language is still the lingua franca in lower classes instead of Terik language books. She revisits events and situations of long time ago which were made by educators and missionaries to frustrate the Terik mother at the time when she was in primary school durin the colonial period, one white lady named miss Ruth(pronounced Roth) had made successful attempts to learn Terik language. Subsequently, she started teaching the terikeek in their own mother tongue hence leading to an overwhelming influx of Terikeek children in school. When the Luhya administrators under Chweeya realised this, he had the missionaries to transfer miss Ruth to a Luhya area hence the Terik mother tongue diminished, and children ran away from schools. Rev. Henry Kipruto who was also a teacher then, was also transferred elswhere to curtail his attempts of uplifting the Terik language. She sums up by requesting the BTL staff to come to the avail of the Terikeek and assist in the writing of the Terik literature.

MIN9/5/00 Education Department
A head teacher of one of the local primary schools submits that head teachers encourge and agitate for the use of mother tongue in the first three years of primary school.However the problem being experience is that the mother tongue being taught is in Nandi and not Terik. Other schools wthout the books, translate the Kiswahili books into their languages.This is therefore cheating and not teaching. Children are being milsed. He appeals humbly to BTL staff to assist writing of the following:
1.Mother Tongue textbooks.
2.A dictionary of Terik language
3.A Bible in Terik language
These three will go along way into promoting the Terikeek identity as a distinct group of people.He says that the headteachers will be willing and ready to instruct the teachers to use the Terik books if they are written.

The general Secretary begins by asserting that they have been hearing of Terik and the Tiriki without knowing the differences, but today the air has been cleared.He tells the members that they have said many things to say on ething: 'That you want Terik to be written'.He tells them their message has been heard.He goes further to explain the role of the Bible Translation and Literacy(BTL)where he has worked since 1983.He said that translation begun in earnest in 1981 with sublime aim of fulfilling the needs of the small groups of people who appeared to have sidelined by th ebig big groups which had the Bible in their languages.He recounted the case of the Sabaot community elders who visited him in th early 80s and requsted to have the Christmas and Easther stories in Sabaot language because their community was diminishing as a result of intermarraige with Bukusu women.Out of the work of the BTL in onjunction with those elders and the sabaot people, a sabaot New Testamnet Bible and a dictionary were written. This came to fruition between 1981 and 1994.He went further to name the communities in which BTL is working with today as being :1. Sabaot. 2. Endo.3. Dasanach. 4. Rendille. 5. Orma.6. Borana 7. Pokomo.8. Boni.9. Giryama.10. Duruma.11. Digo.12. Tharaka.13. Suba.
He said work was ceased in Malakote because of shifta invasion. He also said that work is done among a people only when the very people ask for it. after this requisition there are stages or steps which must be followed by the BTL before commencing work of translation.The steps are as follows:
1. SURVEY OF THE AREA AND THE PEOPLE.During this stage, a test is done to to see whether the people in question understands other languages with written works.This test is conducted in Markets, Schools, and homes whenever these people have settled.
2.SPECIAL COMMITTEE STAGE.The results of the survey are given a special committee which asses by giving marks in the level of underatsnding the realted languages in question. It is thi scommittee which will come up with a ecision or recommendation.
The GS asserted that some study has been done on the Terik and consequently a meeting which met in March decided to conduct a wider study of the same to come up with a better and objective analysis.He said that after the special committee has approved work to commence, this will be done subject to the availability of resources i.e people and money.The community wil be required to finance the project.The BTL on the other hand will give technical assistance.
He encouraged the members to work hand in glove with Seroney and to convene a similar meetings againand again to update many Terikeek people of th eevents and give an appraisal of the project. All Terikeek migrants should be impressed on the issues at hand.He revisited the conference which they had jut attended in Kisumu in which th eteaching of African languages was discussed. In the conference it was agreed that the language of the Catchment Area should be used(for the first three years)to teach all th esubjects i.e Math's, Geography,History,Music etc. and not Mother tongue only.This will create deeper understanding than teaching the said subjects in English.Mother tongue should therefore not only be taught but be used in instruction from class 1 to 3.
He told teachers not to complain ofthe defiency of books in their Mother Tongue since they were competent enough to translate the books from Kiswahili or English to their tongues.He told headteachers to have teachers of different langauges to teach in the upper classes.He recount the plight of the Suba children who went to school only to be taught Dholuo by Luo teachers.Consequently they abandoned schools but surprisibgly their parents opted to teach them (children)Dholuo an dthen sent them back to School to be taught again by the very Luo teachers.But today this status quo has changed because since the Suba have their books in their own language. Finally the GS impressed on the members what they should do at this juncture.
1. That they should begin by writing the history of the Terikeek people.
2. That they should start compossing and singing songs in Terik language
3. They need no permission to form a language committee
4. They should coordinate with the BTL in translating the Bible.
5.That it is the Terikeek themselves who will write the Bible and books in Terik language.
6. They should continue making preparations for the project.
7. That the BTL will only come to assist them after they have found out how to write their language.The catholic priest howver stood hos grounds and went a head to make translations of sermon and hymn books.BTL encouraged him in these endeavours.In the same token he warns members and churches against quarrelling after this meeting. He tells them that their success will depend on their cooperation and availability.Then, and only then will translation of the Bible be a success story and light and truth will be their guides.
The BTL language programmer on his part revisited the Mt.Elgon migration theory and posited that the Terikeek are survivors. They have once survived, they are surviving and they should continue to survive.He promised to offer assistance to the Terikeek where necessary.He praises Seroney for the meeting and informs the members that more people will be coming to get more information on the Terikeek and their Terik language. He finally praises the Terik speakers as a proud people and the fact that they still exist and survive.

MIN 11/5/00 AOB
A member said that the main reason why the Terikeek and Nandi do not agree and why the Terikeek became close to the Tiriki was because a fight or battle between the first two groups in which the Tiriki cam eto assist the Terikeek. The battle was caused by castle rustling between Terikeek and Nandi. During the battle, the Nandi sought refuge on top of trees since they knew that according to the Kalenjin traditions, an enemy who climbs a tree is not killed, hence knew Terikeek were party to it.However, the Tiriki who were Luhyas did not have this tradition.They therefore felled the trees and massacred hundreds of Nandis at a place called Kiboochi(misnomered Givogi).This incient created a long lasting grudge between the Nandi and Terik speakers so much that there is despise of each others language to date. Yet despite this, th eTerikeek children today are being compelled to learn Nandi language in Schools and Churches for lack of the Terik written works.
Another member explained tha fact that some Terikeek have Luo names because in the daus gone by, as a result of wrestling competitions, whenever a Terikiintet would beat a powerful Luo or Luhya in a match, he would 'snatch' away his name from him. It is therefore not surprising to find Terikeek named Ondiek, Mando, Otieno for instance. But this names are presently with a few remaining older generation who will soon be finished.
Another member who is a church minister, explains that his parents migrated to Nandi long ago but he still recognize himaself as a Terikiintet despite growing up in Nandiland. He pleads for a Bible written in Terik language to neccessiate smooth preaching of the word of God in Terik.

The councillor thansk the BTL staff for their visit and urges them not to tire coming to Terik speaking alnd.He informs them that the time they come here again,they will meet a bigger congregation than today's. He urged them to take a positive image they have seen of the Terikeek appreciation if the BTL gives assistance in doing thi sproject. The Terikeeek will owe everthing to them. He wishes them God's grace and guidance in their journey back to Nairobi and back to Terik next time.

The meeting was closed at 2:58 p.m with a word of prayer from the Anglican church Lay Reader Benjamin Kipruto.

- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. Geoffrey Arap Maiyoh

    I bumped into this very interesting web page by sheer chance and i must congradulate Kipnyango Seroney for a job well done.

    As i read through the minutes of this memorable meeting i could see heavy clouds pregnant with the rains of a people who once were, and are about to be re-born.

    This is what needs to be done and am glad it seems to be happening!!, otherwise our identity as Terik people will soon pass like the rains of yesterday.

    Keep up the good work.

    07 Dec 2005, 02:28

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