July 18, 1987

7/18/87 Nguruman Escarpment

campsite near Lenkototo River

We got an early start for the hike today. About two hours into the hike, we came across some more bomas. The people were a little unfriendly because we wouldn’t buy anything. The later part of the hike was entirely on trails worn smooth by the Maasai and their cattle. We could see a lot of sandal foot prints. When I was leading, I almost stepped on a huge jack rabbit. At the spring near the bomas, we came upon a blue monkey.

We finally decided to look for a camp by the river. It seemed like Grand Central Station. Maasai elders coming by every few minutes, wanting to sell things like Maasai arrows or another goat. To our surprise, the price for the goat was only 250 shillings.

Two elders greatly admired Robert’s spear. Its the best looking spear I’ve seen in Kenya, but Robert says it was made in Tanzania. They were comparing its weight and balance. They grabbed it at the very end and tried to see how long they could hold it out horizontal. It became a contest they wanted us all to try. Their next game of strength was to hold it extended by the end straight armed and lift it off the ground. Dave tried and could raise it about four times before his arm got tired. Robert did it about ten times without effort and then stopped. He looked like he could have done a lot more. The spear was very heavy.

I wasn’t that strong, so I tried to balance it straight up on my hand. They all cleared our as if I might drop it. I then balanced it on my finger. They seemed impressed because they couldn’t even do it for more than a second or two. Mike even tried to teach them to juggle.

After dinner, we made a birthday cake. Robert didn’t know when he was born so we decided to celebrate it today (any excuse to make a cake). We had him blow out a candle and make a wish. He tried teaching us a Maasai song but all we could get was the chorus. We asked him to teach us to dance tomorrow.

Robert told us a story of how he killed a lion as a warrior. A German came and asked to see Maasai morani kill a lion. Robert and about twenty other morani went with him to hunt. The found two lions. The German shot one and the other ran up into a tree. All the morani circled the tree. The lion was angry he thought. It kept jumping out of the tree, circle around it and then climb back up. Finally it attacked. It clawed the arms and chest of one morani and bit his shoulder. As the lion went for another morani, two others hit him with spears. Robert then cut off its hind legs with his sword. Then all the morani hacked it with their swords. It took two minutes to die. The German took pictures and paid each of the morani 1000 shillings.

My goat hair bracelet is drying nicely. No clouds tonight, so the stars are great. Most of the morning was cloudy but by afternoon it was very hot and dry.