The Ik
Robin Yamaguchi
30 November 2010
The Ik: A marginalized tribe in the far North East of Uganda

What an unforgettable and special people! High on the peak of the mountains between Uganda on Kenya is a tribe of people, so marginalized and brave, facing enormous difficulties. We had the opportunity to spend time with them and minister to them twice and hope to again in the upcoming year, Lord willing.

One unfortunate thing is, these very warm, interactive people have been very seriously represented–in a book that is even still studied in Universities and Colleges throughout the world … “The Mountain People” by Collin Turnbull. We actually sat with Ik people who had read the book and who had felt very cheated. We invite you to look at these photos and contact us if you have any questions. From our experiences with the Ik, we found them to be a very special people. They refuse to argue, they don’t believe in violence. That’s one reason they’ve moved to the peaks of the escarpment along the Kenyan border, to try to get away from their violent cattle-raiding neighbors, the Turkana & Dodoth Karimojong.
We were contacted by Richard and Sally Hoffman who had been missionaries to the Ik some 14 years ago to see if we would be able to help by recording Bible stories in the Icetot (pronounced i-che-tot) language for a marginalized tribe, the Ik who live on the peaks of mountains on the Kenyan Ugandan border escarpment. We were thrilled to be able to assist and eventually John Mark Lomeri recorded enough to fill 2 hours of audio tapes. Audio Scripture Ministries in the US then generously sent over hand-cranked tape recorders, which we were then able to take up to each of the different communities who live in kraals or manyattas scattered along the mountain tops. This was the first time any of these dear people had ever heard Bible stories in their own language.
Some months later, after having recorded a further 3 hours of Bible stories, and having received a further donation of a total of 45 hand-cranked tape recorders, this time armed with educational and medical supplies for the dear Ik people and their school aged children, we again headed north of Kaabong. This time the rains were unseasonably heavy, and the previous extremely dry terrain was awash in mud. We took the road from Soroti to Kotido which is extremely remote & the mud was unbelievable. Thank God for our hefty 4×4! The main bridge at Kaabong had been washed out, so we forded the river, on to again climb to the peaks of the escarpment to bring these needed materials to our friends.
It was heart-warming hearing how the first tapes had so tangibly given them increased peace, closeness to God, and strengthened their faith, despite the ongoing violent cattle raids between the Kenyan Turkana and the Ugandan Dodoth.
On this second trip, Nyx Martinez, famed Filipina artist was with us and did the most beautiful African-styled ‘chalk-talk’ style stories, explaining the Love of Jesus for each of these dear new friends. Katerina Marshfield also filmed footage and specifically aimed at documenting the fallacies from the stand-point of the Ik people themselves, regarding the false claims of Collin Turnbull in his book.
Praying seriously with our Ik friends on the peak of the mountains.
We are considering another trip in the near future to further minister to them and bring their needs to greater public awareness. The insecurity they face day by day with the constant cattle raiding and killing that surrounds them is very difficult indeed. The Ik feel they have very little say in Administrative matters regarding their land/region and safety. Thank you for joining us in prayer for their protection, safety, for seeds to help their cultivating be effective despite the extremely dry terrain, and for their overall well-being. An SIL team has been working out of Kaabong on further translations into Icetot language.
John Mark, Nyx Martinez and Robin with donated school books and much needed malaria medicine