Life in the Mara is a beautiful ebb and flow between belief and disbelief.
On some days, I believe that I have completely come to terms with the exquisite beauty of the expanse. Yet on others, I step outside my tent just as the first tendrils of orange are seeping into the sky and it strikes me afresh what an unbelievably privileged life I lead.
Up until a few months ago, all my years on earth had been spent in the suburbs, punctuated by sojourns to my grandmother’s farm in the rural village of Loitokitok on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro. During those visits, the nights around the outdoor kitchen fire were an intoxicating combination of spicy ginger tea and captivating anecdotes about the “old days.” My eyes would grow wide as my grandmother spun her spell, recalling encounters with elephants and lions while she was on foot. These stories painted a vivid picture in my imagination and subsequently created a longing for a life and a place unseen.
Then I came to live in the Maasai Mara.
As one of the newest directors on the WildEarth team, I feel as if I am experiencing a version of the reality that my grandmother and my mother experienced growing up.
This feeling is most pronounced when I watch the sunrise from our beautiful vantage point at the top of the Oloololo Escarpment, and the sight of the first rays lighting up the valley below us make it seem as if I’m looking at a place untouched by time. A place that holds a million memories, and has room for a million more.
This enchantment is amplified by a team of individuals who are a beautiful blend of colleagues, friends and family. One would think that after all the years that some of them have spent in the bush, they would be quite jaded by most things wildlife. But their passion and unbridled excitement for what we do is contagious. Long after drive has wrapped, it is not uncommon to hear meal table retellings of the different sightings we had that day.
I’d be remiss not to point out that the romance of the Mara is pleasantly balanced out by the reality of work. And no matter how much people romanticise the idea of doing what one loves, work is work: deadlines have to be met, projects have to be accomplished and shows have to be directed. However, the dream and reality of the hustle in the Mara flow in perfect harmony and continue leaving rich deposits of gratitude and contentment in my heart.
As I type this, I can hear a pride of lions roaring down in the valley below us, beautifully underscored by a passionate chorus from crickets and other insects of the night.
Written by: Faith Musembi