My African Photos Safari - Journal Entry #11 - August 29, 1988

It was our last day in east Africa. Early in the morning, we had to give up our tents at the Masai Mara River Camp at 5:00 a.m. and stowed our camera gear, and luggage under the front desk in the lobby, where there was always at least one person there, to keep an eye on things. I kept one camera with me just in case I should see something interesting.

During our morning drive, John was driving with Ron, Don and I in the van. We saw a wildebeest mother and calf, and a small herd of Cape Buffalos laying down resting, with a mother and calf, at the center.

Then I saw something that I'll always remember, in my mind's eye, whenever I think of it. It to me, was the definition of, "Cool," in the most primal way. As we were viewing game, one last time, we saw a young Masai youth of about seventeen years old, walking through the tall, amber grass with nothing but his brightly colored red and purple clothes, and a spear. When the two large male lions that were not far from him, saw him, they both turned and walked away from him, giving the youth respectful space. We stopped, and John spoke with him, for just a few moments, with the Masai youth standing outside the van, on the driver's side. I just sat there, (inside the safety of the van), awe struck at what I'd seen, and said, "That was amazing how those lions backed away from you." He smiled broadly, and waved at us as he continued on his journey on foot.

After our last game drive, we rolled back into the Mara River Camp at noon, and walked the path towards the dining room, one last time for lunch. I took a photo from in the dining room looking out towards the Mara River.

Lunch that day consisted of a tasty beef stew with potatoes, and carrots. After lunch I went back to the lobby to switch my 300 mm telephoto lens to my 24 mm wide angle lens, to shoot some scenics of the camp and the Mara River.

While I was in the process of changing lenses, one of the men at the front desk asked if the old Reebok athletic shoes setting on top of the suitcase were mine. (I had run out of room to pack them inside my suitcase.) I said, "Yes, they're mine." He held up one of his feet to the shoe, to see if they would fit him, and decided they would indeed fit. "Would you like to trade your shoes for something in the gift shop?" he asked. "Yes, I would. Thank you for suggesting this," I replied. I had a wonderful time choosing some last minute gifts. This was a good trade because what I considered old, worn out shoes, someone else was thankful to have. . . . and I loved looking around at all the treasures to be found in the gift shop.

I entered the gift shop, which was just across from the lobby. I chose an, "East African Ornithological Safaris, Ltd.", t-shirt, that had, "Tusker Premium . . . the truly great lager of Kenya," with a drawing of an elephant on the back. I also chose two pairs of earrings and five Masai beaded bracelets. I thanked the man again, and went to put all my, "purchases," in my camera bag.

Then I walked on the path through the camp, and took a photo of the tent Ann and I stayed in, and a scenic photo of the Mara River, and an acacia tree.

By this time I saw Ann and Cliff, Lou, Don Len Jr. Nancy and Ron. We took a group photo of us all sitting on a long bench, with the camera on self-timer. (I didn't get to see the photo, as it wasn't taken on my camera.)

Then I said to Ann, "I'd like to get a shot of you and Cliff." She said, "Could you take two and send me one?" "Of course," I said. I took two of them by a tree, and two by Cliff's tent. They looked so happy together.

It was getting close to the time we had to leave the Mara River Camp, and head out toward the Kichwa Tembo Airstrip to catch a small plane to Nairobi. I felt we arrived there too quickly, as we had to say goodbye forever to Msembi, James, and John. I asked Ann if she would take a photo of our three drivers and I, and she took two. I hugged all three men goodbye, and was very sad to have to leave. I thanked James for helping me learn more Swahili than I ever thought I would. I thanked Msembi for retrieving my credit card I'd forgotten at a trading post early in our trip. I then told all three of them it was so nice getting to know them, and how much I appreciated their vast knowledge as to where to drive to, to see such a variety of African wildlife.

The small propeller plane arrived just then. John walked over to the plane with me, and handed me my camera bag. Tears welled up in my eyes as I hugged him goodbye, just before I boarded the plane. The little plane was very crowded, as I was one of the last people to board. I was able to get a seat by the window, and Don sat next to me. I looked out the window and saw Msembi, John, and James standing together near, "our" three vans. We started to taxi down the airstrip. John waved a blue handkerchief at our plane as we took off. That was the last time I saw all three of them, as an opportunity to return to Africa has not come my way again.

When we arrived back in the U.S., at Kennedy Airport, in NY, I grabbed the first cart I saw. I must have looked, "Safari Tough," walking through the airport alone with my green safari hat on, along with my Tembo Tusker Elephant t-shirt. On my cart was my Masai shield, Masai spear, and the four foot high wooden giraffe carving. It was such a wonderful feeling when two young black men came up to me and asked, "Did you go to Africa?" Yes, I said. And I told them as much as I could about the wonderful experience I had, where in Africa I'd been, and the highlights of what I saw. My ride arrived, and I said goodbye, and waved to them both.

Since my trip to Africa, I've had many photo exhibits, and given numerous slide presentations about my trip to Nairobi National Park, Amboseli, and Masai Mara in Kenya, and Ngorongoro Crater, in Tanzania. Here's a link to the TV interview/slide show, I put together at a community access TV station. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjfNwuX3Rc4

My photos have been published in World Wildlife Fund's newsletter, "Focus," eight times, and 30 of my photo images were accepted into their photo library. My close-up photo of a black rhino is on their website, in a few places: https://www.worldwildlife.org/photos/black-rhino--5 and here: https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/black-rhino (scroll down, near the bottom of the page.)

Thank you for stopping by and reading this.

Publicado por kathleenlryan kathleenlryan, 04 de diciembre de 2019

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