I never could have thought that a couple hour drive through an African Reserve could change my entire perception on a group of people and their way of life the way it did. Our safari guide, Mark Friend, brought my family and me along with him to an African village that he frequented with families that he was guiding. This experience was not only humbling, but it made me really think about some prejudices that the people in the United States have towards others. The members of the village could do things that I never could have even dreamed of doing, for example: cracking a whip to scare away the lions and other animals that would enter into the small village, be able to identify if a certain fruit or any food for that matter was edible or poisonous, set traps capable of trapping a variety of different animals within seconds, and have the patience to teach strangers who just wandered onto their land their way of life.
We could all sense the clear joy that they felt
As soon as we arrived at the village, we were instantly greeted by many smiling faces thanking us for coming to visit. We could all sense the clear joy that they felt, getting to show people what their way of life really is, not what stereotypes show it to be. Walking straight over to their fire pit, I saw a young man around twenty years old easily ignite a fire that would have been large enough for the whole village with just a piece of dried cow dung, flint, a rock, some grass, and two sticks. He looked up and saw me staring, “your turn” he said calmly like starting the fire was a piece of cake. He carefully showed me each step to making the fire and then let me loose. I thought to myself that I should be able to do it no problem, boy was I wrong. Not only did I not start a fire, it got to the point where he clapped and said nice job when the tiniest bit of smoke puffed out of the stick.
African village courtesy of Ninara
They continued to show us all about how they lived their daily lives, and we also got to see them chase down a rogue cow who decided to break through the wooden fence-like structure he was enclosed in. The village members continued to show us just how intelligent they were and how much they knew about the land when the head of the village gave us a speech about how they decided if fruits that they scavenged were edible or not. The complexity to this made me realize much more about this culture, and it destroyed some of the prejudices that being an American made me feel towards the people of these African villages.