When I went to Kenya with NOLS in 1997 we spent alot of time hiking through rural areas. The country is stunning in ways that I dare not attempt to articulate. It is a land with a proud history of resilience and rebirth. The charm of Kenya extends to its people without a doubt, and their warmth and hospitality are rivaled only by their humor.
We were fortunate to have a maasai guide with us. I don’t remember his given name, but his English moniker was Robert. I lost my journal at the end of the trip and it still hurts my heart to this day that so many details are gone. I remember Robert very well though, he was of course very tall, easily 6’5, with skin that looked silky-smooth and the color of freshly melted milk chocolate. One day Robert took us to a boma (village) of some of his relatives. His family members poured out into the center happy to see him, and they welcomed us with such fanfare and goodwill that we all smiled and tried to communicate our gratitude despite the language barrier, and felt only slightly less ridiculous in our western style long pants and a rainbow of nylon backpacks. It was clear that though they were kind, Robert’s family were not only laughing with us, but capitalized on every opportunity to laugh at us. One male family member, who I assumed or intuited to be an uncle of sorts, continued to circle us and clap us on our shoulders in a good natured welcome. The whole time repeating a swahili phrase that had the rest of the family nearly in tears. Continue reading I’ve Been Called Worse