During our trip to Kenya in 2006, I was given a very special gift.
A Masai baby bottle!
It is made out of a calabash gourd, with a goat hide strap. Hot embers were dropped inside to clean out the fibers that remained after it was cleaned out. You can see the charring at the mouth of the bottle.
The shape is perfect.
A closer look at the bead work.
Pieces of hide stitched together to make the strap.
How did I become the owner of a Masai baby bottle?
Glad you asked!
It started with a very stuck truck and a Masai man named Peter...
We traveled south of Nairobi to the pink salt lake of Magadi. As our guide Macharia was showing us this and that, we noticed a truck stuck in the mud (see in the background of the above photo?) and there were about 8 Masai men trying to help get him out. Our Rover had a wench on the front, so Macharia asked if we minded if he tried to help. Of course we did not mind!
He took off and we played around in one of the hot springs (which was really fascinating). A few minutes later we noticed a man walking over to us with a smile on his face. He asked if he could visit with us and tell us about his home lands since our driver was helping his friends.
What other answer is there by "Of course!"?
The guys worked and tugged at that truck for at least 45 minutes before they gave up. Someone headed over to the salt factory to get a tractor. And we prepared to head off to our destination, a larger hot spring about a half hour away.
Peter thanked us for the visit and said he needed to hurry to get (walk) home before dark. Uh yeah... there's lions out here!! A very quick counsel in the Rover, and we nixed the drive to the hot spring. Himself asked Peter if he would like a ride home. The offer was quickly accepted.
We drove a half of a forever into the bush. About halfway there the road ended (such as it was) and Macharia put it in 4 wheel drive.
This is where we ended up...
Part of Peter's boma (that is the goat shed where the kids are put at night for protection).
Talk about a 'hostile environment'! See in the background the light tan areas raising up against the ridge line? Those are BIG whirlwinds! One time I counted 14 of them as once. And this was 'home' for Peter's family.
Peter introduced us to his lovely wife and their sweet son. Look at that chubby little darling! He showed us his home (behind them) and gave us the grand tour of the boma (compound). As living here were his brothers and their wives and children.
After this Macharia whispered to me that NOW would be a very good time to break out the pile of cookies I'd bought on our way out of town. After a bit of noshing, it was time for us to head back to Nairobi so we got in by dark.
It was then that Peter's wife did her own whispering that sent Peter trotting over to their hut. He came out with the bottle, saying he wanted to give us a gift 'to remember them by'. The bottle was made by his wife. She would milk a goat directly into it, then feed their son with it.