Tanzania 6/26/06 - Arrival at Kambi ya Tembo, Maasai Village Visit

We filed our Tanzanian entrance paperwork in the immigration office and got our passports stamped. We got into our new Land Rover with Michael and Lucas, our new guides for the next few days. The vehicle wasn't nearly as nice as the one Patrick has been driving us around in for the past few days but felt more like what we were sort of expecting. It had no seat belts and was an open-air vehicle. We hoped the lack of walls wouldn't mean too much dust in our faces when driving around as we had noticed it to be a big problem for some of the other travellers we saw. There were two shukas nicely folded on our seats, and Michael helped us to put them on over our clothes. We thought this would help protect us from the dust and the sun, but wondered if it was somewhat disrespectful to the locals that need to wear these same clothes. When we saw that Michael donned one as well we felt a little better about it. It was time for us to begin the ride into new lands. Craig and I were a little nervous with anticipation. Lucas was wandering around the border somewhere, and Michael called him on the radio. "LucaLuca!" he called, but we had no reply. Lucas showed up a couple of minutes later, and we were on our way at about 10:00.

Almost immediately after crossing the border we turned left off the main road. This road was nothing like the roads we had been on before. There were deep ruts across the road and places where parts of the road were completely washed out. The vehicle handled it very well as Michael skillfully navigated around the ditches and trenches. We thought this was likey to be a long drive even if the distance wasn't too great. We hung onto the roll bars and enjoyed the ride. There were occasional houses along this road and the local people laughed playfully when they saw us in the shukas. One boy asked, "Are you Maasai?" Anywhere we saw Maasai, they waved to us. Little kids ran after the vehicle, smiling and waving. It was precious. Michael said that they were saying, "They are white Maasai." We began to feel more comfortable about wearing the shukas as it was clearly not a sign of disrespect at all. The enjoyment they seemed to be getting from seeing us was well worth it and helped to quickly comfort us. We headed toward our next camp and it was very slow-going. The dirt roads were very dusty, and we could only imagine what a mess it must be in the rainy season.

We saw some buffalo weaver nests, which are absolutely huge! Much larger in scale than the weaver nests we had seen previously. We saw a large family of Maasai giraffes, and it became apparent that they don't see as many vehicles as the giraffes we had seen in the national reserves and parks. They all stopped what they were doing and stared intently at us until we were no longer in sight. We joked that it was like something out of a "Far Side" cartoon strip. As soon as we passed by they would probably continue doing some human activity. We saw ostrich and gazelles. It was already clear that this experience would probably be far more rough and that we were part of the wildlife. We were getting very excited. After about an hour of driving we approached a series of small mountains that continued into the horizon. Michael told us that we were not too far from where he was raised.

We continued along eventually cutting right between two mountains and we approached the town of Sinya. Michael told us that many of the Maasai we had passed along the drive were actually heading into town to trade with others. Suddenly it became clear just how far these people walked every day for the simplest of supplies. We saw some Thomson's gazelles who looked very nervous at our arrival. The wildlife was definitely more skittish here than it was in the parks we had been to in Kenya. The ride was quite peaceful but at one point a large gust of wind blew Craig's hat right off his head. We told Michael and Lucas quickly hopped out of the truck to retrieve it. We all got a good laugh but Craig made sure to use the straps to hold it on tighly from now on. We passed large termite mounds and every single Maasai we passed waved at us. We were feeling very connected with the land here. This trip was exactly what we were hoping it would be. We were being exposed to so many things that we had only known from television. Craig and I want to never forget the things we saw and the things we learned while traveling. These are the things that we find important in life and learning about different cultures and different people only makes us better people in return.

We saw a small dik-dik walking along in the wild. It took great care to hide behind small bushes as we passed. It was quite a contrast to seeing one in our camp a few days earlier. We saw Maasai women walking great distances to fetch water and firewood for their families: an ever-present task that must occupy so much of the daily routine for the people that live here. As we finally approached Sinya town, the Maasai were letting their flocks drink from troughs. We saw the Sinya Maasai Boarding School where young children from all over the area would attend a more formal school than they could get staying with their families.

There was an old windmill not too far away that was used to pump water to the town but Michael said it broke down a lot and wasn't reliable enough for them to keep using. He said that a generator is now used to pump the water from the well and it was much more reliable. We weren't exactly sure about how to take this news. On one hand it is a great improvement to provide a consistent water supply to the people that live here, but we couldn't help but think about the introduction of this equipment and the effect it must have on the local population and tribes that live nearby. This change also means a new reliance on petroleum products as opposed to harnessing the readily available wind. How would this town continue to pay for petroleum needed in order to keep the flow of water running? Would this simply make the people more dependent on others in order to survive? Would the local people begin to forget the old ways and become even less self-reliant? This was a case where we could really feel the pressures of modern technology changing the Maasai way of life. Arguably the new system is better for the locals living here, but is it really better in the long run? Will the introduction of these tools actually help or harm the people that live here? Only time will answer these questions and the Maasai will need to address these issues on their own.

In the distance we could see Meru Mountain near Arusha. We could also see Namanga in the distance. This is where we had entered the country and although it was not that far away in distance, in many ways we seemed to be years away in time. As we continued along the dirt road toward our camp we saw some giraffes and their babies. This whole experience was simply beautiful but we found ourselves really reflecting on many of the conflicted interests progress is bringing to the region.

We arrived at the Kambi ya Tembo tented camp at 12:15, and were greeted with glasses of orange juice. We found out that we were to be the only guests staying here tonight. Bill had been here for three days, but had left earlier this morning for Arusha. It was a beautiful open-air compound. There was a large centralized thatched-roofed structure used as a dining room and lounge. The floor was dirt and the partial walls were all made from the local woods in a traditional style. It had a gorgeous view of three main mountains in the area: Meru, Namanga, and Longido. There was a small, very clean rest room outbuilding up there as well. This building provided two private stalls with sinks located just outside. All of this was under a solid thatched-roof and walls on three sides protected it from the weather yet the missing front wall gave it a very comfortable feel. The place was truly beautiful.

We met Sylvestery, the very friendly camp manager. He brought us along a small stone pathway to tent number 10. He told us we would love the view and the seclusion it would provide us. It was much more of a tent than our previous "tent" had been. It was much less permanent; it had a vinyl floor and screen windows on three sides. There was still a thatched-roof over it to protect from rain as well as an en-suite bathroom, but it seemed much more "wild" than the Mara Sarova camp had been. We were very excited about the camp immediately. This was exactly what we were looking for. There were no electric fences here, and it was feasible that animals could roam throughout the camp. Sylvestery pointed out two features of the tent: a machete and a whistle. He said that the machete was really just a decoration, but that we were to blow the whistle if any wild animal was threatening us at night. They would be able to hear the whistle from the staff quarters and would come to our rescue in a hurry. I asked if anyone has ever blown the whistle. Sylvestery replied that only once had someone used it. He said that it had been in response to a large moth in their tent! Craig said, "Let me guess: they were American." Sylvestery smiled and gave us a look like "You said that; I didn't." We all laughed. He told us that they usually don't allow guests to charge their camera batteries in the tents, because each of the tents run off of solar cells and are usually only able to provide a few small lights for each. They usually allow guests to charge their batteries in common areas or in the staff quarters. But since we were the only guests tonight, he said it would be alright for us to charge our batteries in the tent. He made sure we were settled and told us that we should meet in the dining room for lunch at 1:00.

We took a short break to freshen up and went up to the dining room where we met Michael. This camp is all-inclusive (including alcohol). We were told that the bar was self-serve. There were a couple of small coolers on the ground containing various wines and beers. This was the type of all-inclusive that Craig and I could get used to. Not overly extravagant yet easily able to provide the things you wished for. Craig got a large Kilimanjaro beer and I had a Stoney Tangawizi, which was a soft drink flavored with ginger (though I thought it tasted more lemony than gingery). Almost all the beers were larger than what we were used to at home. These were the "grande" size from South America so Craig was pretty excited about trying a good variety over the next few days. We sat at one of the tables that had a beautiful view of the plains just below where the camp was built. The lunch was very, very good. It was pasta with Asian style beef and pork. We also had spinach and bread. It was delicious, but I still didn't have my full appetite back, and I could only eat so much. Because we were the only ones staying there tonight, and since the meal was all prepared specfically for us, the Maasai who served it to us were eager to pile more and more onto our plates. Some of them didn't know English, so I tried to get my point across with sign language. It was rather comical but Craig did his best to eat a full meal for the two of us.

We chatted with Michael about our interest in Maasai culture. Originally they had planned a game drive for this afternoon, but when he heard about our intense interest in the culture, he said that there was actually a ceremony going on in a nearby village today. He thought that we could head over there at 3:00 if we would rather do that. That sounded perfect to us. Yesterday had really whet our appetite for Maasai culture, and we looked forward to seeing another village. We were very excited about what was to come later in the day and knew this was going to be a great place to stay. We had a nice fruit salad for dessert, and when we were done we headed back to our tent to get ready for the afternoon. We met back at the dining room at 3:00 (wearing our hiking boots this time) and Craig had a cup of coffee to stave off any drowsiness after such a big meal. We wanted to make sure to be wide awake and able to take in the entire experience. I didn't want to risk having coffee just yet as my stomach was feeling pretty good again. As we were leaving we weren't sure whether to wear our shukas or not. Michael was wearing his, and said that we should wear ours too. We were a bit concerned and asked him if the villagers would be offended or insulted if outsiders wore them too. He said no, not at all. He said that they would actually see it as a sign of respect for their culture and that we should want to wear them. This was exactly what we needed to hear and we happily put on our shukas for the drive to the nearby village.

As we arrived at the village Craig pulled out his little portable Mp3 recorder. He was going to just hit record and let it roll for the duration of our visit. It can record up to 13 hours in Mp3 quality so it might help us to preserve the moment in ways we cannot begin to imagine without help. Michael thought it was a great idea and said it would be ok. The boma or village is named after its "owner" as Michael called him. In this case it was a gentleman named Langoto Deeka, who wore a green hat and a pink and white shuka decorated with roses. A small plastic bottle (the kind you might put your shampoo in when traveling) was filling the hole in his left ear lobe. He also carried an ebony wallking stick. We waited outside of the boma for several minutes as the residents got used to the idea that there would be unexpected visitors today. Then we slowly made our way inside the wall of acacia used to protect the people and their animals from the wildlife ouside. We were greeted at first by a young child carrying a baby on her back. The baby's face was covered with flies, but the two of them were smiling happily at us. Michael told me that photos would be ok and that we could take as manty as we wanted, so I took their picture and then showed them the photo on the small screen. They were very sweet and really enjoyed that we captured that moment in our camera. Soon more villagers approached us, greeted us, and we took some photos of them too. Everyone wanted to see the photos and our camera was a really big hit with all of them.

We noticed that this boma was set up differently than the one we had seen yesterday. The mud and dung huts were not all in a row, they were spread out around the circumference of the village. Craig was greeted with "sopa" and I was greeted with "takwenya." We felt immediately welcomed but couldn't help but think about how much more authentic this experience seemed compared with the one we had yesterday. There was no elablorate welcoming or anything like that. Instead we were accepted as visitors but for the most part they all continued with their preparations for the festivities to come. We headed past the mud huts up to a slightly wooded area where the men were preparing meat for the ceremony. It is taboo for the women to see the meat being prepared, and it is also taboo for the men to eat meat at home with their mothers. We were immediately overcome with a feeling of exactly what was going on around us. All the senses were filled with all sorts of input that were not fully used to. We heard various birds chirping in the background, an occasional fly buzzed around our heads as we watched all that was going on. Craig and I looked at each other in a sort of disbelief that we were here. This was what we wanted to see and be a part of. This was something so new to us and yet so familiar from all we had learned prior to coming here. We saw an older blind man being led by a little boy. Each of them were holding on to the end of a stick. One man approached Craig as if we was asking for money. Craig was taking a few pictures, trying unsuccessfully to capture the essence of all that surrounded us. Soon a group of people swarmed him to look at the camera and the pictures he was taking, causing the man to get distracted and he walked away.

After a short time observing, we headed back to the center of the boma. A group of men were sitting in a circle drinking their home-brewed beer. Michael and Lucas had told us that taking photos of anyone in the village was perfectly ok, but some of these men obviously did not like the fact that we were taking pictures. They hid from the camera and said something angry toward us. We did not understand the language but it was clear to us they were not happy with us getting photos. Michael and Lucas talked to them and were explaining that the chief had given us permission. We were starting to feel a bit intrusive and bad about the situation. We have avoided taking photos of people and things we were not supposed to but thought it was ok at this time. Quickly, Langoto Deeka came over and settled the dispute. He spoke with few words to the people sitting in the circle but suddenly they were smiling at us and we felt more comfortable. We felt bad for having caused a problem initially, and quickly said that if they didn't want us to take photos that we would stop. We want to observe, not disturb. Michael and Lucas assured us that it was alright. He explained that the men who had objected were actually from another village, and hadn't realized that it had been allowed. Langoto Deeka, as head of the village, told them that we had his permission, and most of the men apologized to us. One was still obviously not happy, though, and when we took the next photo he hid his face from view.

Sitting in a five gallon plastic bucket nearby was the beer they were drinking. It was dark brown and they were scooping it out with an old cup. They offered Craig some of the beer and he gratefully accepted. Because he likes to try the local brew wherever he goes, Craig was actually hoping to get a chance to try some of it. They filled the cup and Langoto Deeka handed it to him. At first Craig took a small sip to get the taste. He then took a much deeper drink and the circle began to laugh. This beer was made from aloe vera roots, honey, and water. Craig said that it was flat, but tasted very much like beer. After the second drink, Craig gave the cup back. It turns out that he was supposed to finish the whole cup himself, as is their custom, but no one had told us that. Craig sort of apologized for the mishap and they seemed to understand what had happened. Drinking the beer, even with the breach in custom, immediately gained approval from all of the men in the circle. Even the face-hider now accepted us fully and thought we were ok. This whole interection spawned much smiling and laughter from everyone and Michael said they were happy with our arrival and happy we tried the beer with all of them.

While we just observed everything around us, Michael and Lucas explained to us about today's ceremony. A teenager had been circumcised this morning, and people from all neighboring villages were now coming to this boma to sing, dance, and pray for them. The teenager was inside one of the mud and dung huts. A small tree was placed outside of this particular house, and women would congregate there, holding onto the tree, jumping, and praying. The morani (warriors) of the village stood in a tight circle in a different area. One of them had long braids colored with ochre, and the rest had very close-cropped short hair. As the whole group chanted, they would jump, one or two at a time, in a display to impress the women. The women and children watched from afar, but eventually made their way closer, singing more melodically along with the men's vocal percussion. Their songs were muti-layered and very pretty. They music was becoming more and more hypnotic to our unsuspecting ears. Their singing was also punctuated with whistles and shrieks making it very interesting to listen to. We found out that jumping is also a form of regular exercise, which keeps the Maasai in shape for their long treks. Laughing, Michael pointed out one of the men who had been drinking the beer, who was now laying passed out on the ground, carefully positioned in the shade of a tree, having a nice sleep.

Information about such ceremonies travels from village to village, and people continued to arrive from afar. At one point two children stood in the entrance of the boma looking off in the distance at their arriving neighbors. As we watched everything unfold, one of the men spoke to Craig, and Michael translated. The man was telling him about the separation of the men and women during the ceremony. As he explained, Michael took us over to the house of the teenager who had been circumcized earlier in the day. The women stood in a circle as one woman grabbed the tree trunk and started to jump. The jumping of the women was much more subdued than the jumping of the men. They weren't going for height, but they were very graceful nonetheless. This dancing while holding onto the tree was a form of prayer for the health of the circumcized teenager, as the circumcision procedure causes great blood loss.

We started to realize some of the benefits of wearing a shuka. In the morning, it had kept us warm on the ride from Namanga to the camp. Now they were protecting our skin from the direct rays of the sun. As the morani and the women sang and danced, we wached two very small children in front of one of the houses. They were practicing their jumping moves. We were totally enthralled by the constant singing and dancing. One villager wearing a pink shuka with geometric designs came over to speak to us. Craig took a photo of him and the man told Michael and Lucas that he wanted "a picture with mama" (That means "mother" in Swahili but he clearly meant me). So we stood next to one another and Craig took a picture of the two of us. The man, who was becoming more and more warm toward Craig, then called Craig his brother, which was very touching for us. He shook Craig's hand and then kept ahold of it for quite a while, signifying friendship and trust. Craig was quite honored by this gesture. After a while, Lucas and Michael said that it was time to visit one of the houses, as soon it would be dark and we would need to get back to camp. "Can't we just stay here overnight?" asked Craig, only half-joking. We were enjoying this experience so much it is difficult to now put into words. By this time the sun was getting low in the sky and the light was absolutely stunning. Everything had a beautiful glow that added to the magic of this moment.

As we approached the house, three little goats were exiting, and they became tangled up and got stuck in the doorway. Eventually one leaped over the others, and they were all able to get out. It was really cute. Goats and calves sleep in a small section of the house, slightly separate from the family for protection from predators (both human and animal). We had just entered the dark house when there was some sort of a commotion going on outside. Lucas told us that "something is happening" outside, and that we should go back out to see what it was. It turned out to be one of the young men, sitting on the ground, being restrained by three fellow morani. They were holding him down and he was shouting. Lucas explained that he had eaten a lot of meat and had also ingested some local medicine, which was making its way into his body, and would cause him to be better soon. It was interesting to get to witness this impromptu healing ritual unfolding in front of us. This was all so surreal to witness and so much for us to try to process in such a relatively short time.

We then returned to the house. Lucas took me by the hand and guided me into the darkness. The house was much cooler in temperature than the house we had visited yesterday. It was early evening by now, which probably had a lot to do with it. Lucas told us that the "mama" builds the house, and it takes her about a month to do it with the help of her friends. He pointed out the women's bed and the man's bed platforms on opposite sides of the house, and said that the man makes his rounds between all of his wives one night at a time. The village will know which wife he is spending the night with because he will leave a stick outside of that particular house. Lucas told us about the different segments of Maasai society. Young children stay at home with the women and elders. Older boys graze the cattle in the fields all day, bringing them back to the village at 6 p.m. Older girls help their mothers to milk the cows and collect firewood in the forest. The morani (teenaged male warriors) are the protectors of the village, and they protect the cattle from predators of the human and animal variety (Maasai tribes actually have a habit of stealing cows from one another). The elders are in control of the society, and they are in charge of teaching the morani. Traditionally, the Maasai have eaten only three things: meat, blood, and milk. The meat is all domesticated; it is taboo to eat wild animal meat. However, nowadays, with the availability of many other foods in the local markets, the Maasai diet is more varied.

Lucas asked if we had any questions. Of course we did, but we were so overwhelmed and on information and sensory overload that we couldn't come up with much to ask. I asked if the Maasai faced much discrimination in Tanzania, and Lucas said that they don't. I'm not sure he exactly understood my question, but I'm hoping that the answer is accurate. The hut was much the same as yesterday's hut, mud and dung walls held up with logs. The roofs were made of grass mixed with cow dung to make it water-tight. In the rainy season if there wasn't enough cow dung (hard to imagine as there was cow dung seemed to be absolutely everywhere) in the village, they would stretch a cow hide over the roof to prevent leaks. Lucas was very informative when we were inside the house. It was the most that we had heard him talk thus far and he clearly enjoyed sharing information about the Maasai. He explained that when a man visits another village, he will be hosted by a woman who is in his same age group. Her husband will go to one of his other wives for the night. Craig suddenly realized that that his eyes were finally adjusting to the dim light of the house and he noticed a little boy staring at us from one of the beds. He looked absolutely petrified at Craig as he was sitting in the doorway to his bedroom. We asked his name, which turned out to be Daniel. We tried to comfort him about our presence here but he was clearly afraid of us. We felt bad for frightening him in his own home but it really pointed to the fact that the locals here do not see that many visitors and each visit is quite special and unique.

We exited the house to find that the women had set up a small market of handicrafts. Like yesterday, they laid out a variety of blankets with different items displayed for sale. They had some items which were different than the ones we had purchased yesterday. These items had a much more authentic feel to them. Instead of being bright and shiny as yesterday's beads had been, these items were more drab, as a result of being stored in the mud huts and being exposed to the smoke from the fire. The protocol here was to find something we liked, and then Lucas would ask who had made it. The woman who had made it would identify herself and quote a price, which was up for negotiation. The money here went to individuals, so we were careful to try to spread our purchases around, not always buying from the same seller. The prices here were much cheaper than at yesterday's village.

We chose a bunch of items, including a canteen made out of a gourd. These are normally used to store blood for drinking but we planned on displaying it rather than using it for its intended purpose. We also chose a nice tube with a leather strap which the Maasai use to store tobacco (and which we had seen ingeniously used as a toilet paper holder at Kambi Ya Tembo Camp), and several different necklaces. We negotiated the prices slightly, but all in all they were very reasonable and we wanted to make sure to help out those we bought from. A couple of the ladies tried to take advantage of the situation and charged prices that were not at all in line with the others, and we decided not to buy from them. It's a game that has to be played both ways and although we wanted to give everyone a little in return for our visit we had to do our part to help keep the prices appropriate. We saw an interesting flyswatter made out a giraffe tail which is used by the elders of the village. We were intrigued by it, though I was a bit uneasy, wondering if the giraffe had been killed to obtain it. As much as we liked it and may have liked to buy it, we determined that we probably weren't allowed to export such an item even if we wanted to, so we passed it by. Craig was looking desperately for a bracelet which would fit over his hand. All of them required a much smaller wrist and as he tried each one on the woman would chuckle and check to see if they had a larger one on their blanket. Eventually one enterprising woman pointed us at a really intricate one which had a clasp fashioned out of wire, and he bought it for himself. We also bought a beautiful headdress (which many of the young women had been wearing) for only $10. It was gorgeous and we could only imagine just how long the various items took to make by hand. We paid each women for her merchandise in U.S. cash as we had not been anywhere to exchange any money into Tanzanian shillings. They all ran to Lucas afterwards asking him to exchange the dollars for them.

At this point we started to hear some moo-ing, and we saw a long line of cattle returning to the village for the night as the sun set. The sunset over the boma was gorgeous, and we said our goodbyes and ashenali's (thank you) to the villagers who had welcomed us. We were introduced to a teenaged boy who had attended school and had attained his O-level last year and was very proud. We hated to say goodbye; everyone had been so friendly and open. Their culture was beautiful. It took us a few minutes to knock some of the dung off of our shoes before entering the Land Rover. Several young women spoke to Michael and Lucas, and it turned out that they were asking for a lift partway back to their own villages. We thought that this was great, and readily agreed. They hopped into the back of the Land Rover, giggling and talking excitedly. Michael took some pictures of all of us in the Land Rover together, and I took some shots back at the girls. They were having a great time, and one was innocently flirting with Craig. She seemed very curious about us. As we pulled away, we all waved to the other villagers. The girls in the Land Rover started to sing and bobbed their heads and shoulders in time with the music. Their jewelry was jingling as they did this. We were all having a great time and wanted this moment to last forever. After about five minutes of driving, we asked Michael to pull over to get a sunset photo. The girls got out at this point with a flurry of ashenali's and giggles. They shook our hands and never stopped smiling. We thanked them and said goodbye, and then headed back to camp.

Lucas and Michael were freezing cold on the drive back, but we were quite comfortable. The sun had set fully on our ride back to the camp and we arrived at 6:45. There was a campfire burning and kerosene lanterns had been strategically placed to light the walkways to our tent. Dinner was going to be at 8, but we were invited to hang out at the camp fire before that. We cleaned up a little bit and headed to the fire by around 7:15. As we exited our tent, we realized that Lucas had been quietly hanging out on the porch of the tent near ours, so that when we were ready, he could escort us to the camp fire. Three chairs had been placed near the fire. Thomas delivered Craig a Safari beer and me a glass of white wine, as well as a small plate of cashews. Craig talked to Lucas and Michael about some of the issues the Maasai villages are facing. Sylvestery then joined us and talked about the camp itself. The land is owned by the Maasai, and the camp pays them a concession to be able to use the property. They also pay the villages for tourist visits, and the villages also benefit because tourists buy items from them individually. It seems to work out well for everyone. At the camp itself, all employees were Maasai, except for Sylvestery who was originally from a neighboring tribe. We heard the dinner bell at around 8 and we headed up to the table. Again, we ate with Michael. We were served veggie soup, battered fish fingers, eggplant, green beans, and potatoes. We had carmelized pineapple for dessert. Everything was absolutely delicious but unfortunately I still didn't have all of my appetite back (but Craig sure did). The Maasai servers didn't understand English, so Michael taught me the Maasai word for enough: not sure of the spelling, but it is pronounced "toshay." We were absolutely gushing about the village visit and just couldn't say enough good things about it. The adrenaline rush we were feeling just can't be explained fully. It was a truly magical experience for us and we were very sad it was over already. While we talked for a while Sylvestery kept calling Craig the king and me the queen. He was so sweet.

At around 9:15, we were beginning to crash so we retired to the tent. They gave Craig another beer for the road and insisted that I take the rest of my bottle of wine despite the fact that I had only drunk half a glass so far. They escorted us to our tent and insisted on carrying our drinks for us. When we got to the tent, the bed had been turned down and the curtains were all drawn. We asked how to shut off the outside light, and they said that was their job and they would take care of it. They said goodnight and left us with instructions (for our own safety) not to leave the tent until daybreak. Craig saw something on the floor and said "Is that some sort of critter?" It was just a piece of lint, but just then I saw a small mouse in the tent just inside of the zipper. Craig and I joked that it was time for us to blow the whistle for help. There's a mouse in our tent! We both laughed heartily. The mouse ran around the perimeter of the tent looking far more afraid of us than we were of him. He eventually made his way back around to the front flap again. Craig wondered whether he would know to get back out the same way he came in, so Craig unzipped the flap a little bit and out he ran. After his exit we plugged up the hole with a small facecloth to keep him out for the remainder of the night. As Craig and I joked about our new pet we assumed that each tent probably had a resident mouse. Ours was the lucky one tonight, as we were the only guests. Since tent #10 was the only occupied tent, we christened him Mouse #10.

Before heading to sleep we both took quick showers in what turned out to be quite a nice little shower setup. Like in our previous tent, there were nice showers, but this one was not as permanent. There was a shower curtain surrounding a small concrete base with a drain in the center. All of this housed safely wihin our tent and a welcome commodity after our long day. Craig's shower was kind of hot and he clearly enjoyed it immensely, but mine, not so much. It had been rather cloudy today, so I suspect the solar panel hadn't heated up the water that much and it had a hard time fighting the cooler air that was now surrounding our tent. We sat on the bed and listened to the audio recording that Craig had made at the village for a little while. He had recorded over two and a half hours of the festivities on his little Mp3 recorder and we wanted to listen to some of it. I tried to write in the journal but soon I was just writing nonsense because I was so tired. We curled up under the warm blankets and fell asleep.
Tent #10 Kambi ya Tembo

Kambi ya Tembo tented camp

View from lunch at Kambi ya Tembo tented camp

Maasai children who welcomed us to the village

Young Maasai woman

Young boy leading a blind elder

Maasai children who welcomed us to the village

Watch the Maasai of Langoto Deeka's village sing and danceWatch the Maasai of Langoto Deeka's village sing and dance
(20 second clip)

Langoto Deeka sharing the local Maasai beer with Craig

Watch the Maasai of Langoto Deeka's village sing and danceWatch the Maasai of Langoto Deeka's village sing and dance
(20 second clip)

Maasai mother and children

Maasai women and children outside of a hut

Maasai children watching neighbors approaching the boma

Maasai toddlers practicing dancing and jumping

Maasai morani singing and dancing

Watch the Maasai of Langoto Deeka's village sing and danceWatch the Maasai of Langoto Deeka's village sing and dance
(20 second clip)

Maasai morani singing and dancing

Watch the Maasai of Langoto Deeka's village sing and danceWatch the Maasai of Langoto Deeka's village sing and dance
(20 second clip)

Lucas with Craig

Steph showing photos to the Maasai women

Steph showing photos to the Maasai children

Watch the Maasai of Langoto Deeka's village sing and danceWatch the Maasai of Langoto Deeka's village sing and dance
(20 second clip)

Women dancing and praying outside of the home of the circumsized teenager

Watch Maasai women sing, dance, and pray for the curcumsized teenagerWatch Maasai women sing, dance, and pray for the curcumsized teenager
(20 second clip)

Steph with Craig's 'brother'

Local medicine taking its effect

Lucas and Michael in the hut

Maasai morani singing and dancing

Cows coming back to the boma for the evening


Craig, Michael, and Lucas at the Kambi ya Tembo campfire

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