Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Kenyan Man Named Joseph

A few years ago on my first trip to Kenya I met a Kenyan man named Joseph who was the night guard at our camp at Lake Nakuru. Lake Nakuru is one of the Rift Valley soda lakes and has a large population of pink flamingos and hippopotamuses. In the evening Joseph would walk around the camp from time to time with his rifle and was happy to stop and enjoy conversation with us. I recall one evening, pretty late, when an Italian man, two German men, and I were sitting around the campfire and Joseph walked up. He was about the same age as we were and had a very cheerful demeanor so we were gratified to have the chance to sit and talk with him. He was a tribal man and lived in a village not too far from Lake Nakuru and had two wives. He was very happy to have this job because it made him an important man in his village. He told us he had a dozen cows, many goats, two houses (one for each wife and children), and several pieces of furniture. In addition, he was able to afford to put a concrete floor in his first wife's house that year and hoped to put one in the other the following year. He told us his total income was about $400 a year and with all of his livestock it made him a wealthy man in his village. He asked Luigi, Rainer, Friedhelm, and I how many cows and goats we had. Sheepishly, we each admitted that we didn't own any. We really surprised Joseph when he heard that! He had assumed that since we were foreigners we were rich and felt sympathy for us because at our age we still didn't have any livestock. :-)

Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of Joseph, but here are a couple of photos of people in Africa. The first photo is a Maasai woman and child in the Maasai Mara of Kenya and the second photo is a father, son, and grandson in Zambia.

No comments: