The Ilchamus formally known as the Njemps are a small group of Maa–speaking people, with a population of about 30,000 and who live around Lake Baringo.
They are primarily farmers and fishermen. Though the Ilchamus do keep some livestock, the stocks are few in number when compared to their fellow Maasai speaking peoples who are exclusively pastoral people. Beyond livestock, the Ilchamus are also dependent on agriculture and fishing for their livelihood. Both are taboo to the traditional Maasai. The Ilchamus also raise some cash crops but are primarily subsistence farmers.
The Ilchamus traditions have a close semblance to those of Maasai. They perform both male and female circumcision; value the warrior moran and age set systems and have similar dress and tradition. The Ilchamus culture and customs are slowly shifting to resemble those of their Tugen neighbours. For instance, they have abandoned the manyatta housing style and adopted permanent round mud-walled huts like the Tugen. Families are patriarchal. When an Ilchamus man dies his eldest son must hold his hand as he dies it is believed that this confers blessing.
The Ilchamus are generally gentle and humble people and welcome visitors and missionaries but are slow to commit themselves to Christianity. However Christianity is gaining ground in the community slowly (The Unfinished Task: Profiles of Kenya’s Least Reached Peoples, 2004).The Ilchamus project was begun in 2006. The translation team has been able to draft 26 books of the New Testament. The community received their first portion of Scripture-the Ilchamus gospel of Matthew in October 2015.
TOGETHER WE CAN SUPPORT THE ILCHAMUS TRANSLATION
Ksh. 510,000 per year for two years will translate the Gospel of Luke which can be used to make a Jesus film in the language.
Ksh. 100,000 will sponsor the cost of a community translation reviewers workshop for the Ilchamus language
Ksh. 52,000 a month will support the salary of an Ilchamus speaking translator