It was a warm (about 77 F and 25 C) night in June as our group of about 25 of us sat around the fire for the nightly ritual of the Maasai in which they share experiences from the day, jokes, stories and plans for the next day. Each night, time is given to someone to share, if they would like. In my mind, I was going over the day I had just experienced and considering what I might say.....
...would I share the experience of going on our game drive in the early morning and being a little nervous because of the rain (that had caused us to get stuck in the mud in our jeep before) and being amazed at the beautiful rainbow that bowed across the sky and made images of the zebra and wildebeest almost magical as they grazed on the savanna.
...or would I share how emotional I became in seeing Bri and Amy who were both moved to tears at being able to see elephants in the wild for the first time. Sometimes I hold back and seeing these two allowed themselves to be fully in the moment and really experience it really touched me.
By June 19th it had been a three weeks since I arrived in Kenya, a distance of 9,360 miles from my home in Arizona. I had crossed the United States, the Atlantic ocean and the equator. What if I was asked at the fire to share an experience from anytime during the trip. What would I share?
....would I tell how one of the best days for me is when we went on a Water Walk to see the route the water project was going to travel from the camp we were staying at and into the community. The elders met us on our walk and invited us into their village and encouraged me to take pictures, lots of pictures. This was so great as I was in Kenya Being a photographer for Global Resolve.
...would I share my experience going on an all day game drive with Cameron and Olivia and our amazing guide Nick, who grew up on the Mara and who knows all the lion prides, even individual names of the lions. It was such a treat being able to sit an watch the lions. That was one of my favorite things. Not feeling rushed to see the next animal, instead watching the lions interact with each other.
....would share my my experience teaching my new Massai friends photography. Alpha, Parsaloi and Isaac often asked to be able to use my SLR camera. I even started giving mini photo lessons to them. They were so excited to take pictures on a "big" camera and I enjoyed sharing my talent and knowledge with them.
Photos taken by Alpha of Stanley and Musa.
Pictures taken by Parsaloi
Pictures by Isaac
....would I tell about how on my 3rd night on the Mara there was an amazing sunset and I got the iconic acacia tree sunset picture! Sunsets on the Mara were something that we looked forward to each night. As part of the water project there was a 30 foot tower which we could climb and see the the land and setting sun in all directions. My favorite place was by the classroom which is where I got this shot.
... would I share how on the first or second night I told my roommate how I felt like the land was welcoming me. Since I was a little girl I had wanted to go on a safari and take pictures in Africa. I really had no expectation that I would feel "at home" in a land that was so far away from what I know and am used to.
The land and the people welcomed me and I am thankful for having had the opportunity to be a part of GlobalResolve and meeting and interacting with the students and staff from ASU and Prescott College and at those that worked at the camp, who became my My Kenyan Family. I hope to again join them again around the fire.
Thanks to all those that followed my posts as I shared my photography and blogged about my experiences in Kenya. If you missed any of the posts all the links are below.
Birds of Kenya
Share My World: Being a photographer for Global Resolve
Share My World: 3 days in Nairobi
Colors of Kenya
Share My World: Drive from Nairobi to the Maasai Mara
Olkinya Lasho -Cheetah
Cats of Kenya
Share My World: Camp life on the Maasai Mara
Olowuru Keri -Leopard
People of Kenya: My Kenyan Family
Share My World: Water Walk
Sunsets of Kenya
Trees of Kenya
Landscapes of Kenya
Butts of Kenya