East Africa, Kenya

Masai Mara, Kenya
Natalia Cohen

It was our last afternoon in the Masai Mara and although the main reason one does a game safari is to see…………animals – my love and fascination for people will always be stronger!
I decided to skip the afternoon game drive and instead asked if I could have the opportunity to spend a few hours in one of the small villages scattered throughout ‘The Mara’. As we approached the village, about 20 small children ran up to the jeep waving, shouting and smiling. From that moment until the second I left the village, I felt like my soul had been uplifted and my heart was crying at the same time.
Before continuing, I would like to quickly describe the layout of the villages in the bush. In the centre is the boma - which is a large separate area where all the cattle are kept during the evenings and positioned all the way around the boma are the simple mud huts where villagers live, known as the manyatta. Beyond that, separated only by a fence made of thorns, is the vast open expanse that is the Masai Mara.

So…………before entering the village area, we thought that we would walk slowly round the boma. We were followed instantly by pretty much all the children in the village. Getting excited (as I do) I started jumping up and down and clapping my hands. Before I knew it, all the children were doing the same. I stopped – they stopped – I clicked with my fingers – they clicked with theirs – I waved my hands in the air – as did they and when I fell to the ground making funny noises – they continued to copy me. With this game we amused ourselves for a while and a bond was formed.
We wandered past random Masai warrior tribesmen all wearing the traditional vivid red and entered the living area where some women and a few more children presented themselves. The women looked fantastic – adorned in their multi-coloured jewellery and bright luminous clothes.
They tried to teach me some dancing and the children stroked my hair, as it was so different from theirs. They studied my arms with curiosity, intrigued by not only the colour but the hair, freckles and moles so alien to them, and poked my breasts innocently.

A couple of older girls appeared from inside one of the huts and tried to sell me some jewellery. I politely declined, smiled and showed them the dance move I had just learnt, to which they laughed openly and quickly forgot about business. Once again interest was shown in my breasts as one of the girls showed me hers and prompted for me to do the same. I readily obliged and got my left tit out for inspection. This sight was met by fits of giggles………
I looked around me with deep emotion and explored every minute detail of my surroundings. It was all a very overwhelming experience. The children were so beautiful and their huge white-toothed smiles radiated past the poverty and base simplicity that surrounded them.

Travel in 2002