Africa begins to work her spell on me. The people, the land, the sun, the LIFE. Above is a view of Maasailand from just the other side of the hills here in Karen. I have been told that Nairobi is not really Africa, but that Africa begins where it leaves off. These photos are Africa.

To the left is a Maasai warrior in all his brazen glory. Bill Sinkele OP, one of the brothers here, took this photo. The man is wearing a machuka, a blanket he wraps around himself. This background is a classic Maasai machuka pattern.

The Maasai still follow their traditional ways as nomadic herdsmen, but it is getting more and more difficult for them to do this. Their land is being bought by outsiders and their herds have suffered from repeated droughts. They cannot wall themselves off from the outside world, yet they also do not have the resources to fight its encroachment. I recently visited Arusha, Tanzania, where Mary Vertucci MM, a Maryknoll sister, has a creative approach to helping the Maasai help themselves. She has started the Emusoi Center to help give young Maasai women a high school education so that they can chart their own course. (This is something taken for granted in many parts of the world, but of the half million Maasai in Tanzania, only 2 or 3 Maasai girls were allowed to enter high school last year.) I made a "feature article" of her ministry which you can see here.

Here is a Maasai women. Jeff and I went out one evening to watch the sunset in Maasailand.

This photo is a panorama of the area just to the south of the Ngong hills (we live on the North side). As with most of the photos, you can click it to make it larger. As you can see, the land is sparsely settled, but after about 10 minutes curious Maasai came out from the houses you see on the hillside to greet us. They were quite friendly and fascinated with my video camera. This lady above is looking at her own image in the screen as it takes hers photo. I don't think she had ever seen anything like that before. At first she laughed and turned away in embarrassment, but then she turned back and really looked at herself.

The children were dressed in their school uniforms and spoke perfect english. In Kenya, the education system is much, much better than in Tanzania.


In this image you can see a matatu, the ubiquitous form of transportation here. This one is carrying people home at the end of the day, from Nairobi to the outlying regions where they live. If you look closely you can see that it is so packed that people are hanging on to the outside of the truck as well, standing on the bumpers. It is at least an hour's ride home. This is the way people travel here in Kenya.

Jeff and I stayed and watched the sunset, something apparently rare in Eastern Africa. People don't seem to watch the clouds or the stars, the sunrises or sunsets. I am teaching the brothers the constellations. They had never heard of the Southern Cross and I had looked forward to seeing it for months! (it can't be seen from the United States.) I am still surprised to see the Big Dipper every night - upside down! And when the moon rises, the man on the moon is laying on his side, as he is when setting in the Northern Hemisphere, so he doesn't look like the man on the moon unless you turn your head sideways, but if you keep your head upright you can see the rabbit on the moon as they say in Mexico... well, perhaps I am the odd one to be so excited by these things, but they are a joy to me nonetheless.

So I offer you these views of an African sunset. They shouldn't have taken long to load and you don't have to enlarge them if you don't want to. Beauty is everywhere, and I am sure that you have plenty of beauty in your own life.

God Bless +