Winnie Barron’s Journal Day 8

Day eight:

            The vistas are amazingly gorgeous—a series of velvety rolls of lush, green foothills.  The landscape is classically Kenyan, with acacias silhouetted against the expansive and beckoning African skies.  Acacias, beautiful as they are, have a much less romantic side:  their thorns are painfully sharp, tough, long, and vicious, easily piercing foot wear, and constantly poking into and scraping arms and legs, and catching/tearing clothing along the way.

            Another familiar and common bush all along the trails here is the “ngoja kidogo” plant, which translates as the “wait a minute” bush.  These are pretty well named, as they grab onto your hair, skin, and clothes with even the most gentle brush past them.  They immediately attach and attack, painfully gouging you; the more you try to escape, the more entangled you become.  The best escape is to stop and slowly try to reverse oneself, carefully removing one spiny thorn at a time without becoming further entrapped.

            The dress of the Pokot is quite bright and decorative.  The men often wear small felt caps, with plumes of feathers and occasionally with combs or small mirrors sticking out at all angles; one even had a bright green holiday tinsel wrapped around his hat band.  Their earrings are also very distinctive:  the young warriors wear large, hooped rings, whereas the married men wear longer and dangly ones.  The women often have beautifully intricate beaded collar-type necklaces, with no particular symbolism other than simply “for the beauty”, as they say.

            A parade of children followed us along the trail for a bit; we felt like the pied piper.  Later that night at camp, Michael broke out into a Christmas song in a deep baritone.  Several women shrank away frightened when he ended the song with a hearty “ho-ho-ho”.  The villagers continued to congregate wherever we stopped however, as if they were lining up for a show (apparently precisely what we are)!

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