Image by Lina Loos

Kasserian Ingera 

Take care of the ones who will take care of us. 

Kasserian Ingera? ( And How Are the Children)

 

Among the most accomplished and fabled tribes in Africa, no tribe was considered to have warriors more fearsome or more intelligent than the Maasai. It is perhaps surprising then to learn the traditional greeting that passed between Maasai warriors. “Kasserian Ingera,” one would always say to another. It means, “And how are the children?”

 

It is still the traditional greeting among the Massai,acknowledging the high value that the Massai always placed on children’s well being. Even warriors with no children of their own would give the traditional answer,”All the children are well,” meaning that peace and safety prevail, the priorities of protecting the young and the powerless are in place, that Massai society has not forgotten its reason for being, its proper functions and responsibilities. “All the children are well”, means that life is good. It means that the daily struggles of existence, even among poor people, do not preclude proper caring for its young. 

 

I wonder how it might affect our consciousness of our own children's welfare if in our culture we took to greeting each other with this same daily question. “And how are the children?”  I wonder if we heard that question and passed it along to each other a dozen times a day, if it would begin to make a difference in the reality of how children are thought of or cared for in this country...I wonder if we could truly say without any hesitation, “The children are well, yes, all the children are well. 

 

                     Excerpted from a speech by the Rev Dr Patrick T O’Neill