The lion, while hunting, does not roar
This blog would have died a slow, quiet death many months ago if it weren’t for Molly’s energy and creative genius keeping it alive and well. I have neglected our blog partly because I’ve been fulfilling the prophetic message that I found in a fortune cookie just before leaving N.C. – “The lion, while hunting, does not roar” (punctuation added).
Ok, ok… maybe I should chalk up my electronic silence to laziness rather than my steely resolve to keep my nose to the grindstone… Molly has been just as busy as me, and yet she still finds time to write our blog. She has been doing research and writing for the Honey Guide Foundation, helping me with river measurements, sitting through endless interviews and surveys, studying Maasai, Kiswahili, and French, making gifts for my field assistants, and keeping me sane while going through the tiring and sometimes frustrating process of preparing for every trip to the bush. Yet she has been doing such a rocking job on the blog that I’ve been able to kick back, and rest easy with the knowledge that it is in good hands. Wouldn’t y’all agree?
At any rate, I felt compelled to share a few words and photos from a Maasai wedding that we went to several weeks ago. It was a rather small, and mellow affair, but one we’ll surely remember for years to come.
It started with the purchase of a goat, and ended with our third plate of chicken and rice in two days. We bought a young female goat at the market in the village of Emboreet as a gift for the bride’s new household. Molly even adorned the beast in a bow and ribbon, much to the delight of our hosts. And as you can see from the pictures, we also bought appropriate attire to wear for the occasion.
Molly was a huge hit among the women at the wedding. They made jewelry together, ate, practiced English, Swahili, and Maasai, and from on what I could hear, they also laughed a lot. Meanwhile, the guys were doing guy stuff – eating meat, talking about cars, and sharing wild animal stories. When I came to find Molly at 11PM on the first night of celebration so that we could make our exit and give a few other guests a ride home, the women would hardly let her go. They were literally holding her back and telling her that she had to stay. Yet the allure of her camping pad outweighed the prospect of sleeping on a cowskin on the ground.
We returned to the boma of the wife-to-be the next morning for her final send off. The day was characterized by many awkward situations in which we weren’t sure of our roles in the whole affair (this was partly because our trusty field assistants weren’t there to translate for us, and we had to rely on our Kiswahili). For instance, based on Molly’s position in the bridal possession, we later found out that she might have been the maid of honor, but we’re still not sure if that was the case. After arriving at the bride’s new home, Molly was encouraged to join the bride in a dark room without any indication of what was supposed to take place in said room. After a few moments of silence, Molls decided it was best to give some well wishes to the young bride, and then take her leave.
Meanwhile, my services were required for picture taking, drinking chai, and making donations for food purchases. I was also approached by a stranger from a distant village who came out of nowhere asking to “borrow” my spare tire because the 3 spares he had “didn’t fit” his car. He claimed that he really only needed to borrow the tire for 1-2 hours so that he could go hunt a buffalo… in the middle of the day. And for some reason, he wasn’t at all receptive to any of my suggested alternative options for getting a spare tire nearby, such as going to the German missionary, or the other village down the road, or the hunting company, or better yet, simply waiting for his flat tire to get fixed. He really just needed to borrow MINE for an hour. Sure he did.
Needless to say, we were pretty exhausted after this encounter and our 2-day cultural and linguistic workout. The experience however was unforgettable, and we are lucky to not only have a great story to tell now, but some fantastic photos to pass on to you all. So enjoy!
Video of Beatrice (the goat) getting beautified for her big debut:
In order to fully relay to you the extreme awkwardness of the festivities that occurred on Friday and Saturday, September 2 and 3, watch this clip:
Now, imagine Brian and Molly as Mrs. Sherri Ann Cabbot and our fellow Maasai wedding attendees as the old guy. Okay, okay, so we’re not exactly like the ditsy, buxom blond and the Maasai are nothing like the speechless, rich geezer with whom she’s in bed, but their utter lack of things to talk about does have some resemblance to our recent experience. Pretty hilarious, really.