Wednesday, December 15, 2010
We Lived a Little Better Last Week
Ole Siloma is possibly the oldest Maasai man alive today. He was our neighbor during the years we lived in Loita, the grandfather of a boy who grew up with our boys. Ole Siloma's family has asked around fairly extensively and there doesn't seem to be any other remaining age-mate from his age group, Ilderitoi. His older brother, another of our neighbors from those years, passed away in the last 12 months.
I wanted to post this photo of our old friend because we saw him last week and truly, deeply, thoroughly enjoyed chewing the news and catching up with him. Ten years ago he gave Byron his beautiful snuff carrier as a gift when we were leaving Kenya. One of my favorite moments in the last week was Ole Siloma chuckling and saying to Byron, "Look what I have to carry my snuff in now!" as he pulled out a little plastic herb bottle that he's recycled from somewhere. It's true, his current snuff container is pretty awful compared to the antique he gave Byron!
I was also very touched that he asked after our kids and wanted us to bring them round so he could bless them. We didn't end up doing that, but I knew it was a priceless gesture.
Other priceless moments from last week include... Meeting an old acquaintance on the road who grabbed my hands and kissed my fingers. Let's be honest, he was drunk as a skunk, but it was sweet just the same. I loved a particularly beautiful evening with new friends... Chai at Ngoto Milai's, whose health I never take for granted so I always wonder if this is our last time together... Seeing Byron and Ole Mesenka, a couple of real brothers, together... Listening to the Colobus monkeys in the trees... Playing in the river with Heather... Conversations with Hennie and Becca... Knowing that a leopard had just strolled across the entrance to camp. Shame I didn't get to see him! I loved reading aloud to the family by the fire and that Colin did such an excellent job driving us over the way-less-than-perfect roads.
There are many challenges and terribly frustrating things about life in Loita but it was a good week. Good work. Good times. Good beauty. I like the kind of exhausted I get from days like that.