- Written by Kimberly Pepmiller Kimberly Pepmiller
- Created: 24 July 2013 24 July 2013
Camp brought another brisk morning. It is certainly interesting to watch the monkeys in camp in the morning! They swing on the hammock and just wait for all of us to leave so they can see which forgetful person left the tent open for their scrounging pleasure.
After breakfast we began our trek back to Nairobi. One stop along the way was at a village where we learned about the Masai people. They have a very interesting and unique culture. The Masai people live very near to the Mara, which is the game preserve where we went on safari. These people have stuck to tradition despite some technology and advancement in other parts of Kenya. Masai warriors are the only people allowed to hunt lions. Each man is to kill a lion before he can marry, and they also kill a lion if the lion kills one of their cows. These people hunt with spears, knives and bows and arrows. Pretty impressive!
Masai people live in a village with their own specific tribe. This specific village contained 183 people. Masai men can have multiple wives, which is just super interesting to hear about (and it reminds me about the kings we have read about in the chronological bible who had multiple wives and harems). They do choose their wives from a different tribe, thankfully. The young man giving us the tour said his father had four wives. The women build huts constructed from cow dung for them to live in. Each house contains a separate room where the goats and chickens sleep at night. Then there is a main room that contains a cooking area, a bedroom for the mother and a bedroom for the children. The first wife of the man has a house with three bedrooms. The third bedroom is for the guests who visit. Women's roles in this culture include building homes, cooking, laundry, raising children and gathering firewood. Men's roles include driving the cattle, hunting lions and watching over the village at night. Masai children do attend school. The Masai culture does not allow anyone to see a traditional doctor or be taken to the hospital. Instead the culture has healers who provide natural medicine. Such an interesting concept. It is hard to believe the culture is still resisting advancement.
While at the village we did see both the men and women perform their traditional dances. They demonstrated how to start a fire without a match. And we learned about their interesting stretched earlobes. The Masai people will cut the inside of their earlobes with a knife to make them open and circular. The people are not required to do this, but a person can if they want the design for beauty. I cannot even imagine. After touring the village, we went through the Masai shops and did some bartering for souvenirs. Quite the process!
The rest of the day was spent driving through a Kenyan countryside covered in multiple fields of wheat and corn. We were back in the lush countryside for the drive today, and we climbed back over the hills to get back to Nairobi. We stopped along the way to eat a picnic lunch we had packed from the camp.
We made it back to the Scripture Mission house in Nairobi late this afternoon. It is amazing to return here and see all of the advancement compared to the smaller towns/villages we have been in the past week. Even then, Nairobi is nothing like home.
We were treated to a very nice last evening dinner in Nairobi at the Tamambo, which is on the grounds of Karen Blixen's Coffee House here in Nairobi. I need to do some research, but Karen Blixen is who the movie “Out of Africa” was based on. There is an entire section of Nairobi called “Karen,” and there are hospitals and such in her name. The restaurant is the building where she used to manage her business, and the restaurant and grounds are just beautiful! This restaurant is like a very nice upscale restaurant in the United States. We were most definitely not expecting this treat! The food was amazing and an excellent change of pace! I had a delicious hamburger that I have been craving.
Tomorrow will be my last day in Africa, at least for now. We have the day to see a few sights in Nairobi, and then we take a late flight out of Nairobi Wednesday night. This experience has been challenging at times but exceptionally rewarding.
Saint John's member Kimberly Pepmiller is in Africa through July 25 with ten other doctors and nurses, lending her medical skills at clinics in Kisii, Kenya, operated by the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod's Mercy Medical Team.