At one of the safari lodges we stayed at, there were several Samburu men employed at the lodge. In their work uniforms, their only tribal adornment was their beautifully beaded thick bracelets.
Kenya was the first place I’ve ever visited where men adorn themselves with beautiful colors in their clothing and in their jewelry. There was nothing remotely effeminate about their jewelry. Their bracelets were thick and solid, brightly colored and stood out beautifully against the backdrop of their ebony skin. When dressed in their tribal clothing, with red skirts, beaded necklaces and headdresses, they were even more stunning.
It’s so interesting to encounter a culture where men adorn themselves so colorfully while retaining a strong sense of their masculinity. I once complimented one of the tribesmen on his beaded bracelet and he took it off and offered to give it to me but I said no. Its beauty was enhanced against the backdrop of his lean strong arm; its charm would have been wasted on my narrow, pale wrist.
Here are some photos I found on the internet of the beautiful Samburu tribal jewelry we encountered:
Also, here’s a link to a photo of a young man featured on the fashion blog The Sartorialist. He uses color in a way that reminds of the Samburu tribesmen in Kenya.
My friend Deanna and I both agreed that we felt very strange leaving Africa. Upon returning from our safari, we spent one night in Nairobi before catching a flight to London. We had seen so many things — gorgeous and lush landscapes, amazing and majestic wildlife, and poverty on a level that we had never personally witnessed before.
Feeling a little empty upon returning from the safari, we ordered room service in our hotel and to our surprise, Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mystery was playing on television in Nairobi that night. It was an unexpected but very welcome taste of home.
When I finally arrived home, it felt so strange to come back to this life where one’s every whim could be fulfilled almost instantaneously and with minimal effort. Things aren’t like that in Africa, especially outside the city. We saw people cultivate their food and graze their skeletal livestock along the roadside. Refugee families walked long distances to draw water from a huge watering hole in one town. Six year olds were working, leading a herd of goats and cattle instead of going to school. Everyone was doing back breaking work, either hauling water, firewood, or digging and planting. The smallest things in Africa come as a result of hours and sometimes days of work and sacrifice. Being able to have so much at the expense of so little effort, everything back home seemed so surreal and artificial.
Like a kaleidescope, the elements of the sky in Africa are constantly moving and changing. One could sit back and watch the horizon for hours and it would never look the same one moment to the next.
Although we were fortunate enough to see ONE cheetah during our safari (the handsome guy above), we were unable to spot the elusive and shy leopard, so this movie still from Bringing Up Baby will have to do.
Bringing Up Baby