Soepa? – O jee! (How are you? I’m fine!)

The savannah of North Kenya is a green yellow blanket of bushes and blooming acacias on a surface of red soil. We, Thom, Diederik, Anne-Marie, Joseph the interpreter, Alex the driver and Lepariyo the coordinator of our program here, are sitting under a tree. About twenty elderly Samburu gentlemen and about the same number of ladies squat around us in two separate semi-circles. We wait, change our pose and wait again. Then the women rise, they group together and start to sing a high pitched rhythmic song. Our first sung welcome. One by one they part from the group while they continue to sway along the rhythm to shake hands with the white ‘mzungu’s’. They are followed by speeches hold by the men; they welcome us every possible way. We will get their help and support. They are honoured that we chose their community to do our important work. And we, we are just as pleased. The colourful clothing, the ease and confidence of those people under the tree, it is disconcerting and delightful. We and as much others as will possibly fit in, get into the land cruiser and drive to the enclosure of ‘our’ family. It consists of four houses in which nineteen people live. We share sugar, tea and biscuits. We unravel the family tree with the help of Joseph and then return back to Wamba, an hour drive on the sand road. There we pack our bags, because tomorrow we will be living among our new family. Anne-Marie Boer

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