Travel Diary: Learning about tattoos and greetings.
We continued our travels following Joseph Thompson’s route walking 17.5 kms today. An evening rain, although brief, the day before left the air fresh as we started out.
We were met by many school children who, while curious, were very afraid of the train of wazungu and ngamia (white folks and camels). Finally they approached us, most interested in Bev and Kathy’s tattoos. Many believed that tattoos are associated with witchcraft so we had some fun with that and explained what they are and that they are an art form.
Knowing how to greet someone in Kenya is very important and children are no exception. Greetings for Maasai children under the age of 10 are made by placing a hand on the top of their heads. Slowly, as they became more comfortable with our circus parading through their village, they walked up and bowed their heads to be greeted. Once a child turns 10 they must be greeted similar to an adult.
Prior to entering the village we were told by the students that there was an elephant up ahead (always a great tip to receive!). We then heard the sound of gunshots which Krasha advised were blanks fired by Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) rangers. The village had contacted KWS as the elephant had been spending time in the village and they wanted it to be moved along. Elephants can be quite destructive to crops in these areas. Thankfully they had called KWS to manage the elephant rather than trying to deal with it themselves as human wildlife conflict may end in devastating consequences for the elephant and/or the humans. Blanks were fired to startle the elephant and move it along and out of the area. While tempted to go closer to see it we decided not as an agitated elephant is not one to get close to. We did watch it as it travelled across the road where we had been and through the bush hopefully into a more welcoming area.
Today we saw our first glimpses of Mount Kilimanjaro - Amanda’s daughter and our friend Roisin is currently climbing “Kili” with her 12 year old niece, Kiara. We stood and gazed at its immenseness and cheered them on from afar.
Later that day we were notified of more elephants in the area. Barabara immediately moved one group of camels ahead of the walkers for safety and we held this formation until we reached camp.
It’s hot….about 34 celsius. We arrived into camp near 1:00pm so time for lunch and a rest. We are camped beside an abandoned boma. This particular boma looks to have had four houses presumably for four wives. Polygamy is legal in Kenya. The largest boma we have seen so far was for a man who had no less than 8 wives and more than 57 children! I tried to probe to find out how many more than 57 children there really were but nobody seemed to know - I guess they simply stopped counting!