“So do you think that prophets can actually
predict the future? Like Isaiah predicting the fall of Jerusalem?” I asked. “Okay, that is a good question, buddy.” He began pacing in front of me, looking as authoritative as a man can in a white t-shirt and boxers. “Now in America, I can see you don’t have so much of these types of people,” he said in his teacher voice. “So they might seem a little bit weird. But in Pokot the werkoyon get so many prophecies from God. It is so normal that people are not suspicious of it.” It was clear he thought Isaiah and the werkoyon were cut from the same cloth. “So you think that God actually speaks to the werkoyon?” I asked. “Why not?” he snapped back, offended. “In fact, even that question is colonialism,” he said waving his index finger at me as if I were a child who needed to be set straight. “You know so many missionaries are always telling us to stop reading the intestines, calling it witchcraft or devil something or other. But they don’t know the first thing about reading intestines.” Michael stopped pacing and pointed to heaven. “The Buffalo clans of Pokot are visited by the angels and even God himself. Listen, when I was a small boy, we had an old prophet living in our village. So I grew up hearing so many prophecies. And one night I remember so clearly. A Turkana village had been built close on a nearby mountain. But our scouts didn’t find them there. And that night the werkoyon had a dream where he was visited by an angel from God who said, ‘Wake up, the Turkana are coming!’ So the old man ran out of his bed and woke everyone in our homesteads, shouting ‘The Turkana are coming!’” Michael cupped his hands to his mouth as if he was sounding the alarm. “And so we ran to the bushes. A few moments later, we watched as Turkana men silently snuck through the gate with spears and they went right into our huts,” Michael smiled. “But our beds were empty.” I had grown up hearing about traveling faith healers pulling people out of wheelchairs and I had watched televangelists explain how earthquakes were a result of America’s sin. But Michael’s story seemed more immediate, more Old Testament. “Prophets are a different kind of people,” Michael continued. “Some throw shoes in the air and read the words of God by the way they fall, others read intestines, or see visions in dreams. But the Pokot are no strangers to God.” With that, he sat down, assuming he had proven his point.