Sunday 21 December 2008 This morning, after watching the sunrise at 6 AM and sipping tea at 6:30, we started our safari. In the morning chill, mountains by the clear valley, trees, bushes and sky were even more beautiful.
The first animal we saw today was a herd of buffalos. Their horns are really big and scary. They are the second most dangerous animals in Africa after lions. Then we saw fox with bat ears, colourful and gorgeous Kingfisher bird and other various types of birds. Tens of giraffes were grazing together, galloping around, thinking that they were hiding from us but were not able to camouflage their tall necks. After a Masai boy who was leading a bull heard, our guide heard the voice of a cheetah, which was like something between a cat's meow and a bird singing. We saw a brother and a sister cheetah running fast. Then they stopped. We had the opportunity to observe them and take their pictures. It was fantastic. Their head is much smaller than lions. Their posterior legs are longer than their front legs. It was very clear to see that they were full of strong muscles because they were so skinny.
We also saw another animal called the waterbuck. It somewhat looks like a lama but its hair is brown and skin oily. They are called waterbuck because they live in watery areas. Due to their smell and oily skin, predators do not hunt them unless they are very desperate.
Zebras, antelopes, eagles, vultures and many other animals have plenty of varieties in Africa. So they are not only one kind. God really has created an incredible amount of richness in this planet. ... Today we had a very lazy day just like all our other days here. We swam in the pool and rested. The sort of heat, which is experienced in Bodrum in August is now being experienced in Kenya in December. Today, there was really scorching heat. After taking a nap in the afternoon, we went to a Masai village, not too far from where we are staying. Our lodge is in the wild life protection zone but this village is on the other side of the river and not in the protection zone. The villagers were happy to see us because they know that tourists bring money.
Actually, a village consists of a family. In a family, there is a man, his wives, kids and cattle. Sometimes the elderly live with them. They keep their village in a circle and construct huts made of mud and sugarcane inside these circles (constructed by women). Women live in one place, children in one place or with the women, or the first wife and her children live in one place. Everything is very basic and simple.
The cooking area, place to sleep, sit and eat are all the same place. The fire burns constantly in the hut. The fire is used to keep indoors warm during the night, to avoid mosquitoes, to protect the eyes from bacteria and diseases and to cook.
They make the bed from tree branches and cow skin. They sleep on the cow skin. Women are responsible with carrying the water from far away, hut construction, care of children and the animals and they do not have any say in any matter.
The father in the village we went to is 50 years old. His two wives are 18 years old. They circumcise boys at age 18 and consider them as "warriors" once they are circumcised. Female circumcision is an ongoing tragedy. The youngest in the family, the 2-3 year-old girl was incredibly cute and by my side all the time. She was hugging me and holding my hand. The cutie signalled me with her hand to sit on the bed once we went in their hut.
The lucky boys who show a glimmer of intelligence are sponsored to go to boarding school by the owners of the Shampole Lodge. The girls are not as lucky. The educated Masai boys are not willing to go back to the Masai style of life. Some of them are computer scientists.
They greet each other by saying "Soba" and touch the children's head. It is clear that nothing has changed in their style of life for thousands of years. Only the educated ones change. The ones who don't know may be content but the situation that the women are in is painful. After leaving the village, we went to the marketplace. Some missionaries built Christian schools here. In the marketplace, there was one TV antenna on one building and one motorcycle. There was even a football game being played and watched by children and cows in the crowd.
Then, we entered the fig forest. The landscapes in the Shampole region are really varied. Some parts are dense forests, some parts are deserts, some parts are rocky etc. This fig tree forest was also very dense. The smell of the trees was strong and fresh. It was full of baboons.
In this forest, there are only 3 of the very rare, beautiful, long and white tailed monkey called the Colobus monkey and we saw one of them!
On our way back to the lodges, we saw the two lions we saw previously and a buffalo who was watching the lions secretly behind the bushes.
Our day was really intense, exciting and interesting. I am sad that we will be leaving here tomorrow. And of course, I am scared of getting on the Cessna plane again.
This evening, Patrick told us that his Ethiopian father passed away when he was 4 years old and his Danish mother married a Frenchman. This way, he learnt to speak many languages. When he went to boarding school in Zimbabwe, he learnt English. After getting married with Joan officially in Switzerland, they had a Masai wedding ceremony in the fig tree forest I wrote about earlier with the blessing of a witch.