Goat Gifts and New Year's Wishes
I was making scrambled eggs with fresh tomato for my breakfast yesterday, and one of our guards was studiously watching everything I was doing. I didn't think this endeavor was that unique or even that interesting, but offered to make the same for the four guys that work there. Zack seemed unsure about it, until I asked if he wanted to taste a little first. He held out his hand and I put a small amount on it (this is the way things are tasted around here, particularly if you are Maasai and don't use silverware). He hesitantly took a tiny taste then grinned and said "sweet" (meaning good)!
I helped him make scrambled eggs for he and his coworkers - but thought it was strange when I told him to start by putting the eggs in a bowl which he did without cracking them - he didn't know how! Although the guys loved them, I was interested to find out later that they'd never had eggs because the Maasai firmly believe that if you eat an egg, all of your children will be born bald! Oh well; guess they were willing to take a risk since they were from Mama Pati!
I went out last night with several friends from my guide company at a restaurant that only natives know about. The food was awesome and I have two new meats to add to my list of unusual things I've eaten. We had barbequed eland (an animal in the antelope family), and warthog. Both meats were very tender and served with special sauces. We also had ugali, a staple food here made from maize that looks like a cross between cream of wheat and mashed potatoes.
New Years is a VERY big deal around here, and we started with the dinner the night before New Year's Eve. On the Eve, I hosted a wine and cheese party at my hostel and then we are all went to a huge barbeque and New Year's party that some of our African friends are having. The party is more family oriented and is complete with Ngoma dancers, acrobats, fireworks, and reggae and bhangra dancing! One of the co-owners of my favorite safari company crossed the road this morning today to tell me he bought a goat to honor me for the New Year. They will cook it over coals (somewhat like people do pigs) and we will eat it tomorrow at an all-day party. I'll admit that I've received some unusual gifts before but this has to be at the top of my list!
I'm living for a few months in East Africa again - it's the evening in January, and it's cooled down to about 100'. Looking at the end of the year - in spite of incredible physical pain at times, hurt from people that I thought I trusted in Africa, etc., I think my most recent 5 month stay here has been extremely good for me. I'm finally learning to ask for REAL help - the acceptance of "I can't do it by myself" type of stuff! I now know that it really is OK to just sit and read - I don't always have to be visibly productive. I can walk through some things I didn't think I could handle such as VISA extensions, the horror of attempting to receive my prescription refills (more to be revealed on THAT issue), and major changes in plans. I've learned that more than ever, I love to try new things and new experiences with new friends not only from Africa, but from all over the world.
Recently these things included attending the football (soccer) playoffs last weekend, hosting a Christmas brunch including mimosas and fresh pineapple, going out on dinner dates with my favorite guide, and going to the huge New Year's barbeque tonight. Yes, my life is extremely different while living in Africa. I'm happy, upset, frustrated, and very challenged at times, but I know that I'm thoroughly loved by many people all over the world and mainly my adopted African family. I'm known here as Mama Pati to everyone, and that's really OK with me!
Have a blessed and peaceful New Year