True love is a song we often sing. But that does not mean true love is not true. I believe that everyone gets that chance to experience it in their lifetime.
An artist sits on his stool and brushes gently… then faster on his canvas for hours. He pauses, looks at his work, smiles then continues. Nothing else matters in that very moment. It is just about expressing himself through art. Its about manifesting the passion, the darkness, the light, the pain, the grief, the war and the inevitable sting of death through that single piece of work.
I don’t know why I started the article this way. It was supposed to sound smart and inspired. Does it? Well, I thought it was going somewhere but… nope. Just a load of novelty BS. I don’t want to lose you so let me stick to the real story. Who are we kidding? I lost you in the second paragraph. Only a smart reader smelt something fishy but rolled with it anyway. So congratulations! I called you smart. Haha… seriously? No. It is never that serious.
Friday morning sunrise. It is chilly but the air is clean and crisp. I draw in a deep breath and imagine that I am among the first people to breathe through this clean air. We are driving through hills and plains in the remote regions of Laikipia. Our station is the farthest from where the other teams have set theirs.The sky is clear .From the far horizon Mount Kenya stands erect and the snow around it glitters as the rays of the sun gently drift from the horizon towards us.
I whisper to my friend Erin that this is like driving through a portrait. Contrary to the city, the landscape is so … mmh! Mwah..! How do I put this without sounding like a drunken monkey? It is absolutely…aaaawww!
Okay. Forgive me. I suck at describing stuff but just to quench your imagination I will say that the landscape is breath-taking. It is like going back to the 18th Century in a land rover. It is a place where cattle, hyenas, elephants, puppies, wild cats, zebras, mongrels, buffalos, dik-diks, bees, butterflies, baboons and… *Sigh!* … people seem to coexist peacefully.
( I used the word seem. DO NOT do anything irrational on this account.)
It is like driving through the garden of Eden just before Adam’s wife (not Ferguson’s) messes it up for all of us. People here are beautiful. The women have colorful necklaces, bracelets and anklets. Their bodies are semi-covered with lesos and their hair is completely shaved. (The hair on their head.)
They have larger ears but they are absolutely lovely. If these women could take a good shower and smile, they would put Victoria Secret Models out of business. I love the men here. Trousers are for suckers! They wrap themselves in lesos. I do not know what they wear underneath. Why? I did not care to ask. What if they showed me?
The young morans are absolutely handsome. The ones I talked to just had a shower last week, so they smelt relatively okay.
They live in Bomas. A boma is a homestead. Most are fenced with whistling Acacia branches. I thought that was clever. Not because these trees are readily available but also because they have long thorns and the domatia are inhabited by armies of infuriated ants. Between each boma is a good distance. I did not measure the distance. But if I did, it is far enough for each boma to mind its own business but close enough for one boma to smell the other’s roasted goat meat. Within each boma there are a couple of huts. One belongs to the husband. Each wife has her own hut. That’s how far I asked. Why? Again, I did not want to be shown.
Most people do not know English or Kiswahili. What is better is that they do not seem to care. Peculiar and conspicuous people I would say. For a moment I did not understand how flies touch your face and you do not whisk them away. Until I remember the kind of cows they rear . Zebu. Ring a bell? Probably not. Don’t melt your brain trying to retrieve the little Agriculture you know. These are hardy breeds of cattle that were created for adversity. They are as tough as camels. They can store energy in humps and survive for a longer time without water.
Now these people I believe are the hardy tribes of the human race. They walk for many kilometers under the scorching sun to get drinking water. We are there only for weekends but our skins are growing terrifying scales due to the sunburns. You know what the sun does to them? They glow!
Now I am about to tell you something. It might astonish you, so… Just in case you have a weak heart or a bladder that misbehaves just close this tab. I will understand.
I need to tell you first why we are in Laikipia. Don’t skip this paragraph to look for the ‘thing’.. okay?
We are vaccinating dogs and cats against rabies. I swear if you laugh at this you will be bitten by a dog infected with rabies. Its as serious as a heart- attack. The campaign is led by three musketeers from Mpala research Centre (Dedan Ngatia, Adam Ferguson and Anchal Padukone. According to the FaceBook Page (Laikipia Rabies Vaccination Campaign),this started with vaccination campaigns in communities surrounding Mpala Research Center but has expanded to other places as a result of huge collaboration with neighboring conservancies, International Livestock Research Institute(ILRI), Karatina University and Mpala Research Center.
Yes. It is important. Because if a dog infected with rabies bites you, you are dead within or in less than six hours. Oh.. the closer the bite is to your head, the faster you die. What’s even serious is that the cats get rabies too. If they bite you.. you are in deep trouble. Who’s laughing now, huh?
Good news is that if you get medical assistance before those six hours.. you will be okay. You just need to get a series of Post-Rabies exposure jabs. Also if the dog or cat had been vaccinated against rabies, then the bite might be non-fatal. (“Might” because other factors could kill you… say blood loss.)
Oh, I’m sorry, not you. You will live forever. Amen?
Alright crew! Take care of yourselves… YOLO but minimize on the stupid. See you next time.
Oh! The “thing”..
Imagine we were told some dogs here are so fierce. They have killed elephants! …and cheetahs!
Whaaaaaat? Yeah. For real though.
What do you mean you don’t buy it?
What do you mean I have wasted your time while reading this article?
What do you mean by my feet have rabies?
What do you mean I have big teeth…?
Just leave me alone!