Monday, September 21, 2009

Journey to Africa and Beyond Part 8

Part 1   Part 2   Part 3   Part 4   Part 5   Part 6   Part 7

We also had planned a trip to the Masai Mara Game Reserve for a few days. This was going to be a 3 or 4 hour trip. We would be stopping by a Maasai village on the way. Finally... we were going to see Africa.

The village (pictures below) was interesting. When we arrived they danced for us, and then they jumped; they are known for how high they can jump. We learned that the ones wearing the head dress made of a lion's mane earned them by killing a lion that came into the village. They don't hunt the lions, but they do kill them if they intrude, and this gives them a celebrity-like status in the village. Their homes are built by the women out of mud and manure (and other "natural" products), and most of them 3 or 4 rooms... many of which are home to chickens, goats, and other animals they keep inside to protect. The homes do not last long as the Maasai tend to move around a lot. In this particular village, which is visited frequently (I think by appointment only) some of the young men go to school, and everyone in the village is a Christian. We had a demonstration of how they start a fire (was anyone a boyscout?). Then, we walked through a small entryway to the marketplace. This was where they all started hounding us to buy their products. Jewelry, carvings, etc. Things they made themselves and really, really, REALLY want you to buy them. Many tables had the same items on them, and each "seller" was trying to convince you that theirs was the best. This was the day I decided I would never, ever, EVER barter. It was overwhelming to me. I never wanted to escape a place so quickly in my life (for those who don't know, I really hate shopping - it used to be my least favorite thing to do; now it's bartering). You can learn more about the Maasai here.

Once we finally left the village we continued on and arrived at the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Could tell we were getting closer because we saw more and more zebras and giraffes. We checked in and went to our "tents", which were actually nicer than the rooms we had at the university.
Yes, that's my tent.

I posted a few of my pictures on Flickr.

The last day we were there we went out early in the morning. The only animals you see are vultures eating the left overs from the night before. I'll spare you those pictures.

As we were heading back in the vans, I kept asking that same question I'd been asking all along... is this Africa?

to be continued... (almost done, I promise)

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