Ejoka! Ejoka! Ejoka noi!
Greetings! Thank You! Thank you very much!
These are Turkana words we heard all through the day and evening during our fourth Mission to Turkana this past July. Ejok! Means “Greetings, peace, hello, hi, I wish you well” It is used constantly by all people regardless of age or station in life with everyone they meet. Often it is accompanied with a special handshake or embrace. The response Ejoka means:” Thank you, good, I wish you the same”. Ejoka noi ! means: “Thank you so very much, awesome, the greatest.’ Our team of ten this year was made up of people in age from twenty to late sixties. They came from Hawaii, California, the West, Midwest, Florida and East Coast. This team represented three Orthodox jurisdictions. They were a most awesome team and fittingly chose the team name Ejoka noi 10.
On this page, which is dedicated to our mission to Turkana, we hope to just introduce you to life among a people who have so much to teach us. The first and most important gift they give us is their ability to live in the present, giving thanks for everyone and everything.
The “Ejoka Noi 10” went to Turkana, being sent by OCMC, as a construction team. First we participated in the consecration of St. John the Baptist Orthodox Church in Lodwar. M. Suzanne (known as Mama Apua in Turkana) and myself (known as Papa Emoru) helped to build this Church as the first missionary outreach team to the Turkana people in 2007.
Our video posted to YouTube “Communion in Lodwar” will give you a sense of joy at communion during this Liturgy. There also was an ordination of our friend to the diaconate. This is the sister parish of Christ The Savior and we have been helping the nursery school for the past five years.
Building the Church of Saint Peter
At the end of this first day we took a three hour ride through the desert to “The bush”. Our work was to help build the Church of St. Peter in Loupwala. The highlight of our work was to celebrate Liturgy there on our last day. The faithful packed the Church with many having to stand outside. The communion video from this Liturgy will pull you into that great sense of joy and thanks expressed by their singing and dancing. This is the village where the bore hole (well) was constructed in 2011 with the help of “Walk for Water” sponsored by the Orthodox Churches of Connecticut. Women carried water on their heads all through the day from this well to the church so we would have enough water to build.
Crossing the River
One of our most memorable days was when we crossed The River to the village of Nacobosan. Here 120 people were baptized this past year. Shortly after their baptism there was a raid by the neighboring Pokot tribe. They killed people and took their flocks. We accompanied their leader, Sallale with some of his people and flocks back to start life there again
Please visit our photo gallery for the full collection of pictures:
Turkana Mission 2012
Turkana Mission 2012 II