Antonio Nez Staff writer
Traveling from America to Kenya was a new experience. An experience that was new for me, as an indigenous scholar, with dreams the size of Earth or more. I was in Kenya. After the single day of traveling around the city from the elephant sanctuary to the restaurant Carnivore. Also, the visit to the 80s type hospital that was up-to-date, their facility would attend up to more than 10,000 people daily. As the day came to an end, it was time for a new.
With new experiences comes a new
method to show what you know about the world. The morning was cool and the southern breeze was blowing through the travel van window. Everyone was able to awaken to the new day. The engine buzzed as we left the hotel, down and around through the city roads. To see people on the roadside, selling and bartering for cereals, motorcycle parts, and fabrics to make a full out t. The colors were vibrant on the ladies’ head wraps and children from young ages to late teens were out walking to school or work.
The men and women were happy to see us foreigners wave and smile, they did the same. Thinking to myself, ‘I hope they are being happy,’ for some reasons I can not think of the books I had read were about African culture and history, I was anxious to hear about what I read about.
The young girls who entered woman- hood had to be mutilated and married, once they are, the girls are not to attend school. I was thinking to myself, ‘Why would the mothers let this happen?’ With time, it was being eradicated so young girls can refuse the ritual, and there I met a woman, she is attending a local high school
The first school we visited was St. Peters, the children I met were staring in awe as the Utah State University cultural ambassadors performance program. They were dressed in regalia of Latin, Navajo, and Polynesian culture. They were first to dance and sing, I could not explain the feeling while they danced with rhythm and hymned in Swahili that was shared through multitude of tribes in that area.
The dance we learned with a native song is hard to remember, but it was a dance for fun. The older children danced and used instruments from scraps of metal and ma- chetes. They sang and in the middle of the song they brought several of our family up, including myself, to dance with the rhythm.
We laughed and stepped as they stepped, it was as if they world had slowed down. I watched the beads sewn in the dresses of my sisters’ and the braid of my brother who wore a Hoop regalia. The teens arms and hands moved up and down to the clinking and clunking of the words they hymned, while we dance and laughed with happiness.
After, we sat and introduced ourselves to them and they took our hands to show us where they went to class, the Christian church they had, and their cafeteria. The girls asked if I were a girl or a boy, but extend to my background I am a Two Spirit person from the First Nations’ people. I laughed and told them to tell me what I was, they said you are a boy, but let me braid your hair. I could never find this funny but I kept my mouth shut, I did not want to make them feel bad for the choice they stuck with.
Then, the hours were up of visiting and talking, we headed back to the lodge, Kajuki Eco Lodge, it was surrounded by a wall to keep people and animals out. The lodge was covered with trees and had paths of rock from on bungalow to another and connection to the of ce and bar.
The sun was beating down on us, we decided to go swimming in a pool only a depth of four feet. I personally felt like a crocodile was going to appear and swallow me whole, my portly bod. (I laughed while writing this.) As the night fell upon us, at 6pm we dried and showered to get the chloride off our hair and skin.
Dinner was served in the dining hall that was up the hill that was only a five percent ascend. Dinner was served as a soup with bits of greens, whole plates of greens with potatoes, and the drinks were either juice or coffee that was white (with hot milk) or black. Everyone ate and enjoyed telling all about what the members of our family were experiencing.
After we settled in for the night, I sat on a chair in my room and enjoyed the nice breeze that brushed against my body. I could not believe myself that I traveled with people to Kenya and met so many beautiful children and people. I could say my life was blessed with the Holy People of the Navajo beliefs that I was a child that traveled as a scholar. [Part three in next Edition of The Eagle]