“She’s the whitest person I’ve ever seen!”-a laughing Maasai child, speaking about me

Info: For a more comprehensive recap of my safari experience, check out my posting for the Oakville Beaver here.

It’s not everyday that you’re asked to be the wife of someone you just met. When that person is a Maasai chief with three wives already and the proposal is taking place next to a freshly slaughtered goat, well, that’s definitely an experience I never thought I’d have. I also never thought I’d sleep somewhere (multiple times) where there’s a chance that leopards or hyenas could attack me on my way to the bathroom at night, or that I’d have to be led by people carrying spears and arrows through the dark to said bathroom.

After all, this is Africa, and it seems anything could happen and each experience is more exciting than the next. I even patted the head of a giraffe today! I’m definitely not in Canada anymore.

Some of my favorite experiences from the last week beyond those mentioned above include:

-Dancing with Maasai men and women while standing in about a foot of cow dung

-Getting within 5 feet of a lioness and her cubs

-Boating in a tiny old-school boat on a lake full of hippos (Lake Naivasha)

-Listening to LCD Soundsystem while looking out onto herds of wildebeest and zebras and watching out for lions for 3 hours, after our truck got a flat tire in the middle of the Maasai Mara Game Reserve (45 minutes from civilization)

-Seeing an African rainbow while getting pelted with rain and watching hundreds of flamingos at Lake Nakuru

-Taking pictures of a Maasai warrior with stretched ears wearing a hat made of the fur of a lion he had killed, along with my fake Ray Bans

-Challenging a couple of children I met in a small farming village to a sprinting competition and losing very badly

-Drinking a Tusker (a Kenyan beer) while overlooking a little township and the countless cows, goats, chickens, and donkeys walking down the middle of the road

I also learned a lot. Some random educational points:

-Maasai men traditionally stretch their ears (to the point that many of them have holes four inches long), but now if you see someone with stretched ears it means they didn’t go to school. This is because the school system doesn’t allow children with stretched ears to go to school for some reason, so if parents want their child to go to school, they don’t begin the stretching process

-Lions aren’t particularly dangerous to humans in the wild, while buffalos are (as conveyed to me by a man in fatigues holding a rifle in case of an animal attack in Nairobi National Park)

-It seems most people speak English in Kenya (everyone I met did except for most of the Maasai men and the children in the orphanage I visited). Apparently most Kenyans speak three languages; their mother tongue (local/tribal language), English (as learned in school), and Swahili (the most widely spoken language)

-They really like Karen Blixen (of Out of Africa fame) in Kenya. In Nairobi, an area of the city is named after her, there’s a Karen Blixen museum, a bunch of roads and buildings are named after her, and more

-A “hotel” in Kenya is a place to eat, not to stay (that’s called lodging). No wonder all the tiny “hotels” we saw on the side of the road were attached to butchers

I’m sure there’s more, but the pounding of the rain outside my window is making me sleepy. I’ll be in Nairobi for a couple of days, then I’m off to India! Bye for now!

P.S. Here are some of my favourite wildlife pictures from my time in Africa. Enjoy!

Lion cub- Nairobi National Park

Hyena- Maasai Mara National Reserve

Elephant (about to charge)- Maasai Mara National Reserve

Cheetahs- Maasai Mara National Reserve

Nairobi- Giraffe Centre

Big cat meet bigger cat- Maasai Mara National Reserve

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