Took a Ride to the End of the Line Where No One Ever Goes...
This was the song playing both in my head and on my iPod as my photoclass headed towards what might be considered the end of the world: Loita Hills and Plains. In two land cruisers and with two people more in our cars than there were seats for, we drove for hours on end on bumpy roads, up and down, and... Well. A picture says more than a thousand words, right?
Sunset silhouette photography!
This photo is one I have in one of our exhibitions.
This man is Sammy Ole Sulul. He works in the gift shop at Maasai Mara Leisure Camp, and is the leader of 700 maasais in his age group. He went with us from Mara to Loita, all the way sitting on an improvised seat made of a box with blankets on top without a simple complaint. He was a gentleman throughout our entire stay in his tribe's hills. We thought of him as just a man, a person kind enough to be our guide, translator, and friend - however, we realized just how important he is when we saw the respect he received among the people down in town. That, and all the adventures we got to photograph all due to him. He also killed a lion when he was 14, just to throw that in there, and he still sends me e-mails from time to time.
Cheater maasai - he's wearing shorts!
This one surely isn't cheating, though - and this is not as short as their skirts get ;)
Rest time beneath a tree on our four hour walk in The Forest of the Lost Child.
Another silhouette shoot after our Loita Olympics
This is one of the sons of the Chief Laibon Mokompo...
And this is the Chief himself. Not even the presidents of Kenya make important decisions without talking to him first! He told us to go to the warrior's village the following day, and we would see something extraordinary.
One of the Chief's four wives, I presume?
Well, we did go to the warrior's village the following day, and we met all the mothers.
The girls in the pictures above and below are both in the healing process after female circumcision.
A mother waiting to bless her son and his fellow warriors; you'll see why really soon...
Ye'know... I gotta be honest with ya. I'm sitting here trying to write this, and I find it extremely difficult because what I experienced when I was here with the warriors... It can't be expressed with words. It has to be seen with the eyes, smelled with the nose, heard with the ears, and felt with the heart.
The warriors serve a seven years long military service, which ends in a huge seremony where they get their long and beautiful hair shaved off, and after which they are allowed to marry. We were so lucky to be there when some of the warriors came home from a lion hunt - they have to hunt down and kill lions as a part of the ritual, and bring home the tail, paws, ears, and mane if it has one. I cannot underline hwo lucky we were to witness this, as the BBC had been in the area for months without catching a glimpse. So let's just have a look, shall we.
Somebody's looking at mee!
And another somebody who's looking at mee!
The guy with the phone is Sammy. I am pretty sure he either filmed or photographed me or both. You wouldn't believe this, but all the maasais have phones - even thought they don't have electricity!
This picture is just soo strange...
The warriors grow very close to one another during their time as "morans". They hold hands, hug... They protect each other, because they're not allowed to rely on someone else; they're not allowed to eat food that has been prepared or even seen by a woman, and they're not allowed to be alone.
Another example of the bromance between the warriors.
And heeeere they come... The successful lion hunters
Yup. That's a lion's tail on a spear.
They were using these pipes as instruments while singing and dancing and celebrating their success and survival.
This is the young man whose spear was the first to penetrate the lion. His brother's was the second.
This is the last of my exhibition photographs...
Mother blessing the warriors with milk. Another girl and I got some of the blessings too - due to Sammy...
Some of the warriors had a kind of a seizure... WARNING: THE FOLLOWING PICTURES MAY BE UPSETTING TO SOME!
This unfortunate man managed to run into a house before his friends could catch him... You see, they can't control themselves, and were taken away from the crowd by one - some up to three - warrior friends.
Just to show the amount of people... Warriors, elders, women, children - everybody was there, and everybody was celebrating!
I believe this "moran" to be the nephew of one of our drivers... Pardon me if I am mistaken.
That's an ear.
And that's a paw. Front paw I think - I believe the back paws were the larger ones...
The maasai traditional jumping dance. They perfect their jumps throughout their warrior years, and the higher you can jump the more attractive you are.
Yes, the maasais truely are a special people. And their warriors truely are the beauty of their tribe, with their long hair covered in red ochre, their colorful clothing, and their increasing amount of jewelry. In my eyes, almost every single one of them was a beauty himself... But no one ever came close to the young boy we saw the day before we went to their manyatta; a man both me and a couple of others agreed we would be more than happy to take home with us:
And as we were leaving, this was the first song to play on my mp3-player (my iPod was out of battery, naturally, as nearly everything else)...
♪♪ It's just another day
Nothing in my way
I don't wanna go
I don't wanna stay
So there's nothing left to say ♥
There were parts of my trip that I didn't like so much - like getting sunburned in Mombasa, or having strangers hitting on me, or getting a Valentine's Day card from a guy I hardly knew... But I loved every single minute of these four and a half days we spent out here in the bush, in no-mans's-land, with the maasais, the real maasais, not the we're-here-to-impress-the-tourists maasais. It was simply amazing. And it really was the end of the line where no one ever goes. Apart from me.
I left a part of my heart in Loita...
Something my boyfriend has painfully had to hear a few times too many since I got back. Babe, I know you're not a warrior, and you're not a maasai, but I love you for who you are, and that's a million times more than what these could ever get from me.
That concludes my traveling letters from Kenya. I hope you've all enjoyed reading about it and seeing the pictures. I've really enjoyed sharing them. Thanks again, and I hope you won't stop reading my blog.
♥ The Norwegian Teenager