British Empire Article

Contributed by Elsie Maciel

by Elsie Maciel
All In A Day At Lake Baringo
Lake Baringo
I learnt from my mother, and their pioneering days in Africa, to quickly prepare a picnic with whatever was available (especially homemade bread) - and put together to make a basket ready for any instant opportunity to spend time in the African outdoors.

All In A Day At Lake Baringo
Njemps Tribesmen
On this particular day, it was to be at Lake Baringo. On arrival after a spectacularly scenic journey from Njoro, and not expecting anything like it, a certain hush descended upon us. The infant in the car (our 9-month old Josey), was fast asleep under a beautiful thorn tree, and the two tearaway boys looking around to dive into any mischief they could get up to, but away from the narrow lakeshore, I found only peace and quiet.

Just out of the blue, a Njemps tribesmen appeared in his wonderful hand-made reed canoe, and after much greeting and welcome, I was amazed and shocked that my husband, Mervyn decided to join the boatman for a drift out in to a crocodile and hippo-infested lake. Feeling helpless and cowardly, I stood on firm ground and hoped for the best, keeping my cool and an eye on the kids and the boatmen. Suddenly, when I looked around, I found myself in front of the best termite mound I had ever seen. Trying to remember what was impressed upon us as children - that nothing must be touched or pulled away in the wilds, I wanted to see how strong the anthill was and knocked it with the back of my hand. For a moment I felt I might have fractured it when I pulled away in much pain. I thanked heaven it did no damage whatsoever to the magnificent anthill, and felt I should have abided by what I was told.

All In A Day At Lake Baringo
Elsie with Tribesmen
Then, all of a sudden, three handsome tribesmen dashed out towards me with kindness, care and help-that seemed to heal the fracture. They stayed on with me befriending the children, even picking up the baby - something never done by a male, and waited for the boatmen just drifting ashore, so excited having enjoyed the boating.
All In A Day At Lake Baringo
Josey with Tribesman
Heaven knows the tribesmen were there all the time, waiting and watching and keeping it quiet as is appropriate in the majestic African outdoors.

By picnic time they were not the slightest bit interested in our food from another world, but headed for their manyatta to enjoy their own rustic fare.

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