My dream came true
Spring break was just about to start and I had no plans for the break days. Most of my friends were excited about the upcoming school breaks with some having plans to visit the countryside while others opted to visit exotic sites like Paris. Truth be told, I was envious of my friends because they seemed to have their holidays pre-planned. If I were to be asked of the place I wished to spend my spring break, I think Kenya would be my one and only answer. I had read many fun stories about this East African country; stories of the Maasai people who had an amazing cultural heritage and the stories of the numerous wild attractions the country holds. Now spring break was around the corner and the only fun thing I saw happening for me was spending time with my mum, dad and little sister.
That evening when I arrived home from school, I was met with my excited little sister. Being that she had just turned two and her speech ability had not matured, Jenny could only mutter words. For one second I confused the smile on her face with that of an excited little sibling who was happy of seeing her big brother. This assumption was quickly faulted by my mum who did not even wait for me to enter the humble abode that we called home. Mama informed me that their organization has bestowed a fully paid vacation upon her. Incidentally, the ticket covered my mum, dad, little sister and I. This news came to me as a great surprise; remembering how I felt out of place when my friends in school boasted of the different vacation plans they had. Mama implored me to pack my travel bag, as my dad would soon arrive with the tickets.
Early the next morning, we were all headed to the airport to pick our flight to Africa. This twist of fortunes happened so fast that I was left wondering whether I was dreaming or not. If it were a dream, I would most certainly pray to the dream master that the dream persists for a little longer. I was pleasantly surprised when I had the pilot announcing over the intercom that we out to fasten our seat belts in readiness for our landing. Soon after, our plane touched Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s tarmac. After alighting at the arrival’s lounge, I sensed that I had landed in a different continent. The air was so fresh laden with some dust. The road leading away from the airport to the Masaai Mara Resort was long, but the comfortable tour van that we travelled in made the trip so enjoyable.
I enjoyed the drive as I got an opportunity to see the graceful people of this beautiful country going about their daily businesses. In less than two hours, our van pulled in at the beautifully manicured parking lot of the famous Maasai Mara Lounge. At the reception, we were received by a man and a woman dressed in the famed Maasai Kikoi (Homewood et al 15). After exchanging greetings, the duo gave my dad and mum a bouquet of flowers while my sister and I received a small basket of assorted fruits and a small calabash of milk. I can still remember the parting shot from these cordial people, they said, “Karibu Kenya”, which was latter translated to us to mean, Welcome to Kenya.
We checked into our hotel suite; with mum and dad sharing one room and my sister and I sharing the other. We each took turns freshening up in readiness of the evening safari drive. After grabbing a bite, we were off to the wild to see the various animals that the Mara game reserve had. Our tour guide informed us of the wildebeest migration that was the main attraction of the Mara. We were so excited of the chance that this trip afforded us; a chance to behold one of the seven wonders of the world. However, our jubilation had to be postponed until the next morning because of the fact that the migration was best seen during the mid-morning hours. During the evening game drive, we had an opportunity of spotting the big five as they hunted and grazed in the bushes and plains of the Maasai Mara. We turned in for the night to rejuvenate our strength for a busy and exciting day that awaited us on the next day.
The second day of our vacation started in earnest. Our tour driver arrived to pick us from our hotel. I was surprised to learn that our guide for the day would be a real Maasai. This was very entertaining; I had heard of many interesting stories about the Maasai people. One striking feature of this tour guide is that he dressed and looked like a Maasai but his conversed in Queen’s English, Swahili and Maasai. He informed us that his name was Olexanda and that he would be our guide for the day. Olexanda was slim dark and very tall. His ear lobes were pieced, the hole had extended, and it looked big. Olexanda was very friendly and sociable, he conversed with my mum, and dad, all the way to the vintage point where we set up to see the famed wildebeest migration.
Fortune was on our side because we arrived on time to catch a glimpse of the migration. I learnt that the migration does not just entail the wildebeest but also has some zebra and gazelles. We watched the migration in awe as the animals fought their way through the crocodile infested waters of the Mara River (Masai Mara Visitor Map Guide n.p). The air was polluted with a mixture of the groans from the unlucky animals that fell prey to the predatory crocodiles and the bleating of the successful ones that had crossed to the other side of the Mara River. I took a special lesson on resilience and determination form the wildebeests; despite of the danger and obstacles that laid on their way, these animals pushed through and continue to push through with their annual migrations. This trip to me was a dream come true.
Homewood, Katherine, Patricia Kristjanson, and Pippa Trench. Staying Maasai?: Livelihoods, Conservation, and Development in East African Rangelands. New York: Springer, 2009. Print.
Masai Mara Visitor Map Guide. Johannesburg: Jacana Media, 2004. Print.
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