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  • Chris Swift

Daily update: meeting Tim and his family and the adventures on Mt Suswa

Had an interesting chat with Tim, our very hospitable Masai host from the previous night.

We had met his family and old grandmother, who he thought was 124, whose longevity was due to a diet of milk and meat from one of his father's 500 cows. Tim did admit she also ate posho maize (ugali) bought from outside—an interesting thought for vegetarians.

Tim’s Grandmother in the red shuka sitting between him and his only full brother.

So we tried to do the maths.

Tim was the youngest of 61 children sired by his father from six wives. So, his father was obviously quite a “bull” himself.

His grandfather could only have taken his grandmother for marriage at around 20/21 years of age after she had spent three years living in the young Moran kraal and after all the various circumcision rituals for everyone around 16/17.

A delightful wee footnote at this point from Thomson’s book when he is discussing the Masai “culture” for these ceremonies states. “Please see the Appendix”.

On turning to this section, the various procedures are all beautifully written out in Latin. How discreet. But you don’t really have to have read Classics at Oxford to translate.

I digress.

So Tim was 27 today, his mother 67, and his father would have been 94. His mother, the Granny who we met had to have been a minimum of 20, so she was a minimum age of 114 when she married Tim's grandpa.

I have never shaken hands with someone that age, and it is probable her parents would have come across Thomson on his travels in 1883.

Yesterday being a rest day, we walked around the crater and Rory got some good photos.

The only slightly disappointing situation was that the Conservancy had decided to allow the extraction of the red cedar trees for all the new fencing that was planned within the crater. It is a massive task cutting the trees and extracting them from off the volcanic plug down 100’s of feet and then back up a severely steep path 500 feet. We passed three different boys with bundles of 6 cedar posts weighing 75 kilos climbing back out of the inner crater. What a mission.

I attach a view of the inner crater and the cedars can almost be discerned growing like some boreal conifer forest.

It would be fascinating to do a drone survey of the Suswa crater and the state of the vegetation as a record.

Breakfast for champions on a rest day.

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