STORM OVER THE MARA
Limited Edition Serigraphy
And so the adventure begins, in a land far far away that time forgot....
Walking across the Mara escorted by the Kings son and two Massai Warriors, I look back towards the deep depression alongside a river where my tented camp was located. I can no longer see any trace of my temporary home as I now gaze out onto a vast flat area dotted here and there with Cape buffalo, Elephants and other assorted beasts. The expanse goes on forever, as far as they eye can see and beyond… just flat nothing except for that one lone tree. I asked my escorts about all the holes in the ground. They told me they were their fishing holes as young boys and proceeded to show me. One warrior wet a long reed with saliva and put it into the hole and waited. Then when they felt a tug they pulled up with a really big poisonous spider dangling from the end.
After a while I noticed that we were going in a wide arc, so I asked why. The moran (warrior) I was talking to all those nights was the Kings son and he said his father told him to protect me with his life. We were avoiding any dangerous animals, except perhaps the deadly spiders. In the distance I could see his Kraal, his village of some 300 people, surrounded by a high wall of sticks and bramble. We entered through a doorway of thickets and thorns. Once inside the King’s son told me to wait while he spoke to his mother, the eldest of the King’s seven wives. Standing there looking around I did not see one living soul. Sometimes I thought I caught a glimpse of something, but it evaporated right before my eyes. I saw many huts built of sticks and cow dung hardened by the sun, and in the center of the wide opening what appeared to be bloody rags. I feel eyes on me from everywhere … but see nothing!
I was summoned to enter the hut. The opening was so tight I had to turn my body sideways and duck to get inside. I was told to sit on what was a bed covered in animal hides. In front of me was a fire burning, with the Queen seated on the opposite side. We conversed in Maa, Swahili and very little English. After about a half hour she arose and told me to follow her outside. Once out in the open air I was surrounded by the population of the entire village, ranging from the very young to the very old.
I was accepted!
Throughout the day I was introduced to the other wives and moran (warriors) who challenged me with spear and bow. In a small ceremony I was honored as a Maasai Warrior and given a necklace with three lion claws to mark the occasion.
It was now approaching late afternoon and the Kings son said it was time to take me back to my camp, saying it was too dangerous to travel at night. I told him I would like to go back at night and travel the same path the moran take.
Thus off they went into the darkness……
The three of us were carefully picking our way through the jungle alongside a river when the moran came to a halt … sniffing the air. Quietly I asked what was going on. The Kings son said they can smell the difference between all the animals, and a Cape buffalo was waiting for us up ahead. He has already determined our speed and distance, and will charge and try to kill us.
Did you know on the dark continent of Africa, the British, at the turn of the nineteenth century controlled only South Africa areas around Lake Victoria and along the coast. They were repelled from the interior by the fierce Zulu and Maasai warriors with only spear, shield and bow, against the British gun and cannon. It is said, how do you describe another man’s fear? By saying the word…. Maasai.
We stood perfectly still talking very quietly about the best way out of this dangerous situation. We had no idea how many there were or where they were. I could barely make out a horn and hoof through the thick jungle wall. We can’t go straight and we can’t go around, and we don’t want to go back. Unarmed except for my small CIA knife we were stuck. Then one of the moran picked up a stone and threw it in the direction of the buffalo. The King’s son did the same, peppering them with rocks. I picked up three stones and with the twist of the wrist let them fly sending missiles in three different directions. The moran had never observed anything like that before and tried to do the same as I, without any success; the stones just landed in a clump. I taught them how to twist the wrist properly, after which missiles were flying in all directions.
We were laughing so hard we never heard the buffalo leave.
And onward into the darkness they trekked……..