The Meru Story: The Escape

Ameru village escape

We left the Meru story at a place where the Meru had been told to build a spear that reached the sky, and they were at a loss on what to do – after flying through the other tests with a wisdom not seen before, they were now staring at death.

What did they do?

They planned an escape! And an escape was not a joke.

The spear could, simply, not be built. But to avoid suspicion from the Nguu Ntune, the Ameru started collecting material and pretending they were making the spear.

A middle aged man who was always at the forefront of the Ameru survival known as Koomenjwe called the other Ameru and informed them that the Nguuntune had a seer who was against their slavery. This man was God-fearing and would be willing to assist, and sought their approval to talk to the seer. They agreed that there was nothing to lose and even if he betrayed them they would die anyway. So, our guy Koomenjwe spoke to the seer, who was more than willing to assist.

To escape, cut a young man up.

After consulting with his gods, the seer told Koomenjwe that the only way to find the answer was to have a young Meru man to “have his chest and stomach cut open and I will divine from his blood and flesh.”

Keke! This was quite a price to pay for freedom, and Koomenjue went back and informed the Ameru.

As they deliberated on how to choose this sacrifice, a young guy later called Gaita (volunteer) stood up and said he would be willing to die for the tribe. A second guy called Mutheru stood up and said he would be next if Gaita’s blood didn’t give results. A third one still came up and said he would be next if both failed. Suddenly, there were many options! (Who could do that in this age?).

Anyways, the there were taken to the seer. He laid Gaita on top of Muthetu and cut him open as the third guy stood with hands on his waist – he was named Kiuna. Gaita’s blood provided the needed results and when the seer stitched him up again, Gaita rose again! He joined the rest of the people in waiting for the results. The seer “consulted” with the gods and gave Koomenjwe a black rod and told him, “Your tribe will escape from the island tonight. Select a lamb without blemish and Gaita will strike it with the rod. Drive it into the sea and the sea will part…and your people will pass.”

Red Sea

Meru Red Sea Escape
We know what this looks like… but no. Its not.

Everyone was told about that. They gathered their belongings and livestock and stayed ready, leaving donkeys and goats tied outside their huts to avoid suspicion. When they reached the sea called Iria Itune (meaning the Red Sea), they did as they had been advised. The sea parted and they crossed it on dry land…to freedom!

I know, I know, you are thinking this is a story from the Bible, but elders who have never been to church confirmed this story severally. We could be the Isralites, you never know!

If you’re wondering whether they trekked through Mount Sinai, keep it here. For the next edition.

4 Comments to “The Meru Story: The Escape”

  1. Simon Ndonco Mitambo

    Thanks for the great work you are doing. I had a community dialogue with elders from Tharaka and they did not seem to identify Koome Njue well. They said he could only have been the Mugwe of Kithuri Clan, otherwise which clan did he come from. Some argued that Koome Njue was written in some books and it has been difficult to unlearn. Have you faced this challenge of not being able to identify Koome Njue?

    1. One of the challenges we have with the Meru culture is the way it has been handed down, and in particular with the fact that we have several sub-tribes who don’t necessarily speak the same language. So, probably, KoomeNjue may have been called something else in Tharaka, vis a vis, say, Igembe. Ask your elder how the Escape was like. It os good to get another version.


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