The Donkey

The wild fieldwork is finished. Yesterday afternoon we took the tents down and said our goodbyes to the family Lenalparsia and their neighbours. We shake hands with a colourful row of heavy beaded women and received many blessings for us and our families. Save journey to your land! Under the tree, just outside the enclosure, brayed a donkey, our farewell gift for the two weeks of hospitality in this manyatta. We discussed it in depth with our host Kosen. What should it be: a couple of goats, a donkey? Now the women can get water for their household with a donkey, loaded with jerry cans, at the tank two kilometres away. It is impressive that mister Kosen thinks of the women on his enclosure instead of the expansion of his herd which would increase his prestige. We are impressed by the flexibility of our family and their neighbours. Everywhere where we go we meet friendly and understanding Samburu. An elderly lady squats non-directed in the right shadow to tell the camera an ancient story about the bad relation between women and elephants. Saus, the sister of our host stirs in her narrow hut the stiff maize porridge, illuminated by Thoms camera lights. Young warriors, moran, demonstrate the poses that come with their age group: knife and cane on their belt, spear in their hand. They are the guards of the people and the cattle. They lead the herd to the juiciest fields. The fields here are never really juicy. But no one complains, because it could be worse. The big drought of 2009 is still a vivid memory. Ngai, the God of the Samburu, his name also means rain, will make sure that in April the fertile water will fall on time. Anne-Marie Boer and Diederik Veerman

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