Dear National Geographic,

I was visiting a project site today. I went with me, myself, and a driver. The site is in the Southern region of Kenya maybe 80 miles from Nairobi. I hade to go and take some photos of this borehole we drilled and check out to see if the local community is benefiting from this endeavor yet.

I get there, to the school the water tank is at, and there are no people around. I look around for anyone and see only a little child standing there alone. I approach the child not to sure if this child is a boy or girl. You see they all shave their heads to combat lice and ticks. I get maybe 10 feet away and the entire village jumps out of the school buildings, which I thought were empty. They all yell surprise or something to that effect. I just about wet my pants.

The whole shindig was to celebrate the opening of the wells and water tanks. This community was so happy to have a sustainable supple of water they wanted to thank me. So out comes the fattest cow I have ever seen. This thing must have been 2500 pounds. Any way the hand me a knife and instruct me to cut the animals throat. I was appalled and beside myself. How was I going to kill this poor animal? I tried to decline but was instructed by my driver that if I decline that would be a serious insult and might be putting our lives in jeopardy. The Maasai are very proud people and can be incited to savagery in an instant. So I took the knife and said a prayer for this poor beast and slit its throat. As this cattle slowly lost life. The Mzee or elder of the village (Olepolos or Bul Bul) was chanting something and collected the slaughtered beasts blood. He then hands me this cup and tells me to drink. Out of fear for my life I drank with the assurance that my precious Lord would protect me.

As we waited for the meat to roast I was center of some commotion and it seemed to be a bargaining going on. My driver was speaking Kiswahili to one of the elders and kept pointing at me. I asked him what was going on and he just told me I am making sure we do not offend these people. In a few short hours we ate this amazing animal. This was the most delicious steak I have ever had. The meat was very tender and man was the portion adequate. After this meal we all gathered around and watch the traditional blessing ceremonies and dancing. It was amazing to see this stuff in person. I sat the enchanted by the rhythms of the voices and the alarming beats created by their movements. During all of this I was taken by the hand and brought into the circle to dance. I gladly obliged and was soon jumping and moving to a no longer foreign sound. I felt connect to them as one body. After maybe half an hour of dancing I tried to take a seat and was lead to a Bomba (hut) and instructed to put on this traditional attire. I was tired and in to the whole thing and did as asked. I walk out of the bomba to find the village gathered around the entrance. I walked out and the crowd parted to revel a young woman cloaked. I was shocked and was then told that this woman is my bride. As thanks for giving the village water and life. I was to receive this woman and begin a new life as a tribal elder. I almost ran! What was I to do? If I say no I offend them and get my driver and I killed. So I am writing this to you to let you know I am now a Maasai tribal elder and have my own village and cattle ranch. You should come and visit and bring the kids! You all can meet my new wife Enkusero.

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