the past 4 days have been spent living in a Maasai village with no electricity, tons of noisy animals & a herd of the laughiest people i've ever encountered. i've experienced every sunrise & sunset through a 2+ hour walk escorted by my very own personal Maasai warrior. much like my Nepali sherpa from years ago, i want to bring my warrior home with me. too bad he doesn't want to come. mainly cause the bush where i live doesn't look like the bush where he lives.
i've discovered 2 things that my life as a new yorker should have prepared me for as my temporary life as a maasai woman, but didn't. A, having evolved the ability to sleep through honking horns, garbage trucks & the general screaming of people enjoying their merriment, one would think i could sleep through the daily 3am wake up call of zebras hee hawing at the water trough. and the subsequent laugh of a hyena picking one of them off for a midnight snack. but one would be wrong. and B, having evolved the ability to walk down the street dodging tourists, slow walkers & piles of dog poop, one would think i could walk through the bush dodging trees, rocks & various animal poop without breaking a sweat. but one would be wrong. again.
although these twice daily treks on Maasai land have turned me into an expert poop tracker. i can tell which animal is going in which direction. can tell the diff between a zebra's vs a giraffe's vs an ostrich's vs an antelope's. i know antelopes come back & poop in the same spot each time, depositing right on top of the previous visit. and it's the same antelope that comes back to the same spot. they don't share toilets. i'm such an expert, i can even tell the diff between boy giraffe poop & girl giraffe poop. quantity.
but don't let this expertise fool you. i have no doubt if i was a gazelle, i would be the first one eaten at the watering hole.
maasai word of the day...enkideng, which means cow. spent 1.5 hours talking with a gaggle of Maasai children answering every one of their inquisitive questions. they have wide & varied questions about me, my life & america. HOW DID YOU BECOME A PHOTOGRAPHER? do you have any brothers & sisters? HOW DO YOU GET TO THE TOP OF AN 80 METER TALL BUILDING IN YOUR COUNTRY? do you have game parks in your country? WHAT KIND OF ANIMALS DO YOU HAVE IN YOUR COUNTRY? who was the first president of your country? WHEN DID YOUR COUNTRY FORM? where do the red indians live in your country? WHAT IS THE LONGEST RIVER IN YOUR COUNTRY? what are the physical attributes of your country? DOES THE GOVERNMENT PAY FOR CHILDREN TO GO TO SCHOOL IN YOUR COUNTRY? how does one get married in your country? AT WHAT AGE DO YOU GET CIRCUMCISED IN YOUR COUNTRY?
and of course the requisite DO YOU KEEP COWS IN YOUR COUNTRY? no, i don't own any cows. WHAT IS THE AGE OF THE OLDEST COW IN YOUR COUNTRY? um, i'm not sure. the biggest outright guffaw of disbelieving glee came from my response of NO, I DON'T KNOW HOW TO MILK A COW. i even heard a few TSK TSK TSKs after my declaration of ignorance & apparent shame.