“Eat life with a big spoon.”Maasai saying
I got a little bit of a late start today. Between the time change and a sinus thing going on, I don’t know what time it is.
Back to Africa. Our Guide, Robert, wanted to show us not only the animals, but also his people. He’s an interesting guy himself. A proud Maasai, he was given up for adoption when his mom died in childbirth. Seems it’s bad luck for the community to keep such a baby. He was adopted early on by a Scottish missionary doctor. He went on to get a masters degree in the study of elephants, a law degree and an MD. He said after all that, the Maasai welcomed him with open arms. No bad luck now.
We could not have gotten a better guide (he only does 4 a year) and is so well respected among the drivers-we even heard talk that he is thinking of trying for a job in the ministry of tourism.
So we continued our journey towards Lake Manyara at the foot of the Great Rift Valley. We passed through dry dusty terrain that turned to lush in an instant. We could see the Maasai tending their cattle in the distance, a single person alone in the middle of nowhere with their cattle, dressed in the traditional brightly colored shuka. I noticed that the shukas looked a lot like the Scottish plaids and Robert told us that control of the area had gone between the British and the Germans. The native people didn’t have a great love of the British and Germans and thought that all white people were British and Germans. When the Scottish came in, they told the native people that they too did not like the British and Germans and that they were different. They developed a quick friendship out of their mutual dislike. The Scottish taught the native Maasai about fabrics, and that is why they wear brightly colored plaids. That and to scare away the animals!
On we went, sometimes for miles only seeing the lone Maasai cattle herder. Interestingly, we would see kids as young as 5 standing guard alone over a group of goats and calves. Yup, Robert told us, they were gaining experience with the smaller animals. Once we came upon a few young boys preparing for their upcoming circumcision. One of the rites of passage of the Maasai, between the ages of 12-19, boys are circumcised (they do the ceremony once every 7 years-that’s why the big age range). We knew because they were dressed in black and their faces were painted with white markings. I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture. They were walking along the road together.
We stopped for a lunch under the banana leaves, tables and chairs adorned with shukas and traveled on to our hotel with a quick sighting of a baboon.
Once settled, Robert took us on a walk to look at the local flora and fauna, with a quick stop at an orphanage. God had better plans though and right as we approached the orphanage, the skies opened up and we ran for cover. We ended up spending more time than he had allotted, meeting the kids and the one teacher and her aide. Seems these kids also were given away because their mothers had died in childbirth. Toddlers to teens, living with practically nothing. Robert wanted us to see how his life began. Yes, we are planning to organize and help out. It was quite sparse and they needed the basics.
They were full of joy and energy! It was fun to see their faces as they saw themselves in our cameras.
So that’s it for today. I could go on and on but have an appointment in Bedford in an hour. I’m going to enjoy the drive and appreciate our beautiful landscape.
Have a great day!