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Drinking the blood of Goats
by: Zanzibar

Hello everybody, we are right off the coast of South Africa at the moment. I had great fun in Kenya, I went on a camping safari. Our campground was guarded by Maasai warriors, who jingled slightly when they walked and stood between us and the lions that we could hear coughing and roaring sometimes during the night. One night I was walking around and it was dark and stormy and I heard a sound… so I quickly flashed my light at the sound and saw that it was only a Maasai warrior with a spear. A MAASAI WARRIOR WITH A SPEAR?!?! AHH! It had a bit of a double-take effect, but it’s funny how quickly you can get used to things that are different. We all agreed that we were very glad that they were on our side.

Some people went on hot air balloon rides over the savanna, and they had fun doing that but they did end up missing a very close encounter with a big fat cheetah that we found. Usually cheetahs are very skinny and scrappy looking because they feed during the day and tourists are constantly harassing them and giving away their location to their prey. This one was nice and fat (for a cheetah) and it walked right in front of our truck.

The highlight of the safari was our visit to a Maasai village and an ensuing soccer game. I was on Team “We are not taking this that seriously” because the other people on the other teams were really intent on winning, and “showing the maasai what’s up”

I played my favorite position of sweeper and matched some of the Kenyans stride for stride because they tended to underestimate us. The one confusing thing was that most of the Maasai were wearing red, and one guy on their team was wearing blue. Many people on my team were passing to this fellow accidentally thinking he was on our side. It should have been easy: All white people on one team. All black people on the other, but it didn’t turn out to be that easy. How’s that for color blind!

We also took this opportunity to teach the children how to play duck-duck-goose, which was very hilarious, and Amy-June brought out her kite and everyone got to try their hand at flying it.

The MOM25 trip, our sister trip, had a bit more culturally in depth experience than even we had, but whether or not that was a good thing can be debated. They decided to pool their money and buy two goats. So they did. And what might they do with these two goats, you wonder? Well, they had the Maasai slaughter them (they strangled the goats in front of the SAS kids) then they slit one goat’s throat and six adventurous people drank its blood right from its neck. (Two threw up immediately afterward) What did the trip leader think of this? The trip leader was none other than Dr. Mike, the ship’s main doctor, an emergency room doc from Boulder (think sandal-wearing, COLT Club/OTL type hippie with the bandana and the Wittebort-style elastic waist/black-nylon-snapping-belt synthetic pants). He took the opportunity to drink the goat’s blood and fall back on his haunches and lift his hands to the gods. Then the Maasai butchered the goats and MOM25 ate them for dinner. (All of them except, of course, the two or three PETA members in the group, who were rolling on the grass and clawing their eyes out at having to be party to this spectacle.) On the way back, as way of ultimate karmic goat retribution, the axle on MOM25’s bus broke and the wheels started slowly sliding off to the left until they had almost fallen off and someone finally noticed. (And by bus, I mean a truck about the size of a garbage truck with four wheels per axle) Dr. Mike took the opportunity to abandon his group and hop on our bus for the 9 hr ride back to Nairobi. The tour operator, a clean cut (though Boulder-loving) young man from Eugene, Oregon took to Dr. Mike at first, but after the goat incident came to us and said, “Most of my family is in the medical field, and anyone who thinks that drinking the blood of a random goat in Africa is not EXTREMELY bad for you is CRAZY. Do you have any idea how many blood parasites are in these goats? Nobody drinks this… most of the Maasai don’t drink it. He’s crazy!” and we said, “You don’t have to tell us that, why do you think we chose MOM23?”

We had a great driver who never got stuck in the mud, but MOM23 bus 3 got stuck all the time. Once 3 got stuck and 2 went to help them and they also got stuck. We sat for about an hour or so while our drivers talked about it (“No! Don’t get out of the truck!” Us: “Why not?” Drivers: “…lions” Us: “ok, I think we’ll just stay in the truck”) Later some children came and my friend AJ gave them all whistles and bouncy balls and those pens with bubbles inside. The children started blowing the whistles non-stop and as we drove away he yelled out, “I’m sorrrry Maaasai parentsss!” We were trying to try out some of our Swahili and so AJ sang an African song he knew which he did not understand but the children found hilarious and then we remembered that we knew the word “Simba!” but the children didn’t think that was funny, they just looked around suddenly. We decided that yelling out “lion!” on the savanna is just about as bad as yelling out “fire!” in a theatre and so we quit with our Swahili language practicing. As the wait for the other bus grew longer our entertainment of the children denigrated into making animal sounds (they liked the cow the best) and singing “You’ve lost that loving feeling” The other bus was finally freed from the mud and returned to camp at about 2 in the morning. Those who were on those two buses had to get out and wade through the muddy morass to our bus, which then shuttled them to the campsite.

We found everyone in Africa to be extremely friendly and everyone always waved to us and smiled and said “JAMBO!” Near the dock everyone was trading in a frenzied way and people came back to the ship without their sandals, socks, bandanas and shirts as a result of some last minute bartering with the locals. Some people found condoms to be a very lucrative item for exchange so there was a raid on the health clinic. Phil himself had a quite a stock pile on his desk, a fact which I promised him I would pass on to his mother and his girlfriend whenever I should happen to meet them.

On the shipboard front, I’ve been doing a lot of drumming and a fair amount of Chinese painting, a little mask making, a little watching of the Big Lebowski for the first time and reading of post-modernist thought and realism versus liberal idealism, eco/anthro/bio centrism, feminism, etc, etc, (which have been giving me a little bit more of a footing for understanding the mind of a certain zk Mullen, especially as regards to language usage and catch phrases. ;) ) In South Africa I intend to further my research by chilling with Ashley Kraft. In South Africa I also intend to see penguins, also a highly worthy task. Our ship is once again between two weather systems, one to our south and the other one on the other side of Madagascar. They are far away but they’re making the ship rock again, which has the unintended consequence that when somebody says hello to you and you turn around to see who it is, you usually end up colliding with a wall, or falling down some stairs. Or maybe that’s just me, haha. In other news, I’ve become something of a morning person and rediscovered my long lost love for English Muffins, which I now eat almost every single day. For now I guess I will go to sleep, as I have a big, huge mammoth test tomorrow and I still have to review all the countries in South America and it’s approximately 2:30am, local time. Wish me luck!

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