Posts Tagged ‘African safaria’


My mind's eye saw this young Maasai girl as one who will face the future unafraid. --Photo by Pat Bean

“A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea.” – John Ciardi.

African Safari: A Conversation With Bilal

Kim asked Bilal if there were any female guides.

“Some of the other guides do, but I don’t,” he said.

“Huh?” Kim replied.

It seems Bilal thought she had asked him if he ever “visited” girls in the local villages in the evenings when he wasn’t driving us around Tanzania.

His answer when he finally understood the actual question was: “Oh no. They would be too afraid.”

Both replies were telling, I thought.

Our conversations with Bilal revealed a lot more about Africa than what could be seen with the eyes. Of course, we two “uppity” women tried to open Bilal’s eyes as well.

I suspected we were unsuccessful when he laughed in disbelief after Kim told him about our friend, Janice, and my daughter-in-law, Karen – two American women who both hold martial arts’ black belts.

Of course, there are things in life to be afraid of, like hippos that are at the top of the list of Africa's most dangerous mammals. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

“Now those are two women who could even kick your butt,” Kim had said.

But while respectful of our opinions, and us, we could see that Bilal didn’t believe her.

Later, when we were in Kenya, we visited a local Maasai tribe where a couple of the men demonstrated a game played with stones. This time I asked the question: “Do women also play the game?”

The stone game -- played only by men. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

“Oh no. They can’t understand it,” was the response given through our Swahili translator.

My tongue hurt from biting back the retort. We were, after all, guests in another country.

It wasn’t until the Maasai men were demonstrating to us how high they could jump from a standing position that I could once again smile.

A gaggle of young boys were imitating the men – as was one young girl.

She was with the women off to the side, and jumping despite the gentle hand on her shoulder, laid there by one of the women to try to get her to desist.

Perhaps, I thought, she will grow up to be a guide. There was certainly no look of fear in her face.

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