Did I mention that the roads are bad? Most of the 4 hour trip was a bucking bronco ride! In fact, about 1 ½ hrs. out from Masai Mara we hit a bump really hard and heard a strange sound, so Bob pulled over to check it out.
As he was removing the right rear tire to see what the problem was, I noticed a Masai shepherd crossing the road from the opposite field with two little boys in tow. I approached him, gave the old firm American handshake and introduced myself. He was a very soft spoken man dressed in the traditional red blanket/short robe with a knife on his waist, chains on his calves and dusty sandals. He said his name was “Yuma.”
As I stood there watching Bob and making small talk with Yuma, I was amazed at how pastoral the scene was. All around were rolling hills with the only sound being the gentle tinkling of cow bells wafting in the air. There were no cars, no houses, no people…
With Yuma’s permission I gave his two little boys a “sweet,” and him too. Then I asked if I could take his picture and he said yes, which I did. “Are those your cows?” I said pointing across the street.
“Those are my sheep,” he said, “We are prosperous.” Soon two Masai women came and stood by Yuma, and then 4 other Masai youths. So we all stood staring at poor sweating Bob. When I asked the new group of Masai if I could take their picture, they said something unintelligible which Yuma interpreted as, “They said no unless you give money.”
Since Yuma had asked for no money I went to the car and asked Ann how much money I should give him and she said that 20 KSch would be sufficient. So just before we drove off I handed him the money and said, “Thank you for letting me take your picture.”
Bob couldn’t find what was wrong but we went on cautiously since there was an unusual scraping noise going on. We passed mile after mile of open space with sparse little brown mud huts contrasted sharply by the Masai’s red blankets worn by the men. We finally arrived at Shayne and Tari’s little aluminum house at Masai Mara. They are missionaries which the Masai had invited to come live among them. The Masai had noticed how greatly improved the lives were of other tribes which had welcomed missionaries in. So Shayne and Tari have lived among them for 13 years in this little aluminum house. We are glad to be still and very tired. But not too tired to notice the amazingly different world we found ourselves in. Cows, sheep and goats are everywhere which is because the Masai are a shepherding people. They consider their animals to be their wealth. In fact they believe that God gave all the cows in the entire world to them, and they can go gather them from other tribes at times…
They live mostly in mud/dung huts that the women build with sticks and some stones. Unfortunately they are sick a lot and the child mortality rate is high. This is because of the unsanitary conditions they live in. There are a lot of bugs in those huts and disease is common from cuts and scrapes.
Time for bed. I will sleep under a mosquito net for the first time in my life. Though I haven’t seen any mosquitoes yet. This is malaria country so McKenna and I are taking our malaria medication tonight. Tomorrow we will go on a short driving safari in the animal reserve, then we’ll be having a meeting with the children. Till then… zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz