The untold story about the Pokomo in Hola mission


The German missionaries came to Tana River and ultimately settled at the “HOLA MISSION”, by that time no Pokomo was living there rather they were in other villages of wachakone, chewani, Ghabvia(present day malindi ya ngwena) and mikinduni prophesying their tradition religion and laws. This was made of the kijo (religion) and gasa, a subordinate level law making organ supervised by the kijo and enforced by the wagangana.

Hola got the second word mission from the German Neukirchen mission society who saw the construction of a school, a health center and a church which is still there with a bell outside engraved the year 1914 on it. This attracted the pokomo community to initially seek for modern treatment at the health facility. Some local pokomos then decided to abandon their religion and join Christianity. This meant that they were to relocate from their original home villages and join the Germans at their camp at Hola mission. This act of abandoning their religion and joining Christianity was called kuphyehuza mama

The earliest group to phyehuza mama and relocate to Hola included Reuben Karhayu, Simeon Karhayu (Reubens brother), Isack Abiyu Karhayu (not a brother to Reuben and Simeon but a cousin), Elia Deye, Michael Dhadho. They were already married men and they relocated Hola with their families. Others were to follow as young unmarried men.While at their new home at Hola, they were taught how to read and write. They were then taught the Christian religion. The Germans selected some of them and made them religious teachers who were posted to various areas to teach Christianity.

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The Neukirchen mission society was virtually the only organisation that built stations in Tana valley where the Pokomo settled. They were interested in winning the pokomo to the new faith. While Methodist the earliest missionary organization in this area had by then literally given up the field in this mosquito infested region. Therefore the Neukirchen missionaries were the first people to build a church in Hola mission not the Methodist. It was later when they came into the picture.

Most of the pokomo in Hola mission today are not speaking the original pokomo language. They are blending the language with Swahili. For instance instead of kigulu to mean leg most of them pronounce it as mgulu just close to Swahili word mguu, vula( rain) pronounced by many as mvula. The mzungu who mastered the Swahili  language taught the locals when he was training them to read the bible and write. This to an extent had an impact to them. They are known as “misheni” in Swahili to mean the christians. They uphold the christian faith. This is the untold story about the Hola mission pokomo.

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