Thank you David Bonderman!

Because of Mr. Bonderman's generosity, I have been given the opportunity to travel the world and learn about culture. As a Bonderman Travel Fellow I plan on traveling through Western and Eastern Europe, East Africa, Northern India and Southeast Asia. I am excited to experience new and amazing things that will better enable me to empower and inspire the next generation of young students.

ALSO!!! If you are interested in following the nasty development of my beard and can follow it at

Friday, January 7, 2011

Piki to the Masai

As I've said in previous posts, pikis (swahili for motor bikes) are an essential part of adventuring through the Great Rift Valley just below Kijabe, Kenya. I've been able to see uncountable zebras, giraffes, dik diks, antelope and gazelle and thoroughly enjoy some African beauties that would otherwise be of these beauties was a remote Masai town called Awaso (sp?). John and I mounted the pikis expecting to travel deep into the valley and summit one of the many mountains littering the area. But about halfway to the mountain we realized it was WAY to far and WAY to, we decided to travel another 9 km through deep sand, hellish dirt roads and herds of cattle to the Masai village.

The Masai Tribe is one of the biggest and most well known tribes in all of East Africa...their tribe stretches through Northern Kenya and down in Tanzania. They were strong enough to resist all European colonization in the past. The Masai are still very traditional: many don't speak english, they still live in their mud huts, they brutally perform woman circumcision, most men and women stretch their ear lobes and ALL of the women wear lots of beads.

John and I arrived in the town ready for an adventure and found that we were the only Mzungus (white people) out of nearly 1000 people. We decided that we were probably the only whities within a 10 mile radius. With luck, it was a monday and the outdoor market was set up with about 30 venders....John and I bee-lined for the guy making and selling tire shoes (incredibly durable and well-made sandals made entirely out of used car tires). We each bought a pair for 150 KSh (less that $2) and decided to grab a cup of tea and a soda at a nearby Duka.

Walking through the town and meeting the Masai was a well needed breath of fresh air after struggling through Africa for the last three months...It is easy to get discouraged when 10-20 Africans , every day, try and take advantage of you: venders trying to charge white people 5x more than they would Africans, bank officials lying to you and trying to steal a mere $10, police officers abusing you and expecting a bribe, etc. BUT in the Masai village, every vender was straight with us, nobody asked us for money and people were genuinely interested in talking with us to exchange restored my hope a little bit and made this next month much more enjoyable.

Tomorrow a bunch of people are riding pikis out to Mt. Longonaut and climbing to the top...exciting

Godspeed and Good Fortune

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