“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” –Mark Jenkins

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Day 7 - Masai Toothbrushes

Throughout our time driving over the Mara I had been wanting to get a picture of one of the many bleached buffalo skulls that litter the plains, but there was always something more interesting to go after, so this morning I was glad when David spotted this perfect specimen. When we got up close, we noticed that it had some sort of moth larvae growing / living on the horns which apparently is quite common.
During our breakfast stop, Daniel made us some traditional Masai toothbrushes from the wood of the elephant-pepper tree (Warburgia Ugandensis). As you chew the end of the cut stick so that it forms a soft fibrous ‘brush’, anti-bacterial properties are released into your mouth and at first it is incredibly strong and peppery, but after a short while it’s actually quite pleasant. Daniel explained that generally a toothbrush like this would last about a week before he would have to find another tree and cut another piece. The ultimate, eco-friendly disposable toothbrush!
We spent a lovely afternoon drive with a family of elephants bathing in mud pools and were quite surprised to witness a mother shielding the babies from our view – every time we moved the truck either forward or back to get a clearer shot of her calf she would move to block our view. Elephants are considered in the Mara to be the best mothers of all the mammals – we could see why.
Since we were late returning again (and after the embarrassment of last nights’ shower preparation), we asked Daniel to radio ahead to get the buckets filled in time for a quick shower before dinner. So when we got back I set the camera cards downloading, and stripped off, confident that no-one would be roaming around outside until I flashed my torch.  Oh how wrong I was – I had just sat down on the loo when Joseph’s voice came through the canvas – “your shower is ready for you Joanne, you had a good day with the simba yes?”

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