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Posts Tagged ‘impala’

 “No journey carries one far unless, as it extends into the world around us, it goes an equal distance into the world within.” Lillian Smith.

A Maasai community -- one set up to show tourists how the Maasai live -- welcomed us with a dance. -- Photo by Pat Bean

African Safari :

There’s a scene in the 1962 John Wayne movie, “Hatari,” in which co-star Elsa Martinelli, dances with Maasai women. In the dance, the women jump up and down making their wide, bead collar necklaces bounce.

Graceful I was not, but one of my best memories of Africa was getting to dance with my Maasai sisters. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

I had long thought that would be a fun thing to do. In what was pretty much a recreation of the movie scene, Kim and I watched a group of Maasai women dance and jiggle their bead collars for us when we visited a model Maasai community as part of our guided tour activities. .

The native leader of the small group, which lived in traditional, dark, dung and twig huts built by the women behind a barricade of thorn bushes to keep out wild animals, asked if someone wanted to dance with them. And then he approached Kim.

I was crest-fallen because he hadn’t approached me. .

But Kim, who has never been quite the ham that I am, shook her head and stepped back. Before he could ask anyone

An impala quietly grazes near the Maasai village. -- Photo by Kim Perrin

else, I eagerly stepped forward and volunteered.

What had looked so easy watching the women get that necklace bouncing wasn’t easy at all to accomplish. My collar ornament barely moved at all.

But then the beautiful bald-headed woman standing next to me gave me a quick lesson, and soon my necklace was bouncing up and down, too – although not with quite the rhythm and grace as those of my African sisters.

After the dance, I bought one of the collar necklaces that was handmade in the village by one of the women. It was the only souvenir I bought for myself on the entire trip.

It was such moments as dancing with the Maasai women, along with watching a leopard stalk a gazelle, adding new birds to my life list, and gazing at Africa’s amazing sunsets at the end of a long day, that drilled a piece of Africa into my heart.

That piece, now four years old, is still there and shining bright with memories.

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