by Richard Coke
One of the highlights of my last trip was an evening I spent with the Samburu people in northern Kenya.
The Samburu are ethnic cousins of the Maasai in the south of the country. We joined a big group of warriors at a social event beside a river bank.
The warriors spent hours getting ready, putting on colourful cloths and ornamental beading. Then the warriors and girls began arriving from villages all over the area. It was a chance for the Samburu youngsters to socialize and show off. Although the clothes and adornments were specifically Samburu, the behaviour would be recognizable anywhere. It was a kind of Samburu prom.
During a pause in the festivities, the warriors gathered round and drank some goat’s blood. Blood and milk are staples of the Samburu diet.
I actually had some myself – it’s much less disgusting than you might imagine.
After the drinks interval, I noticed one Samburu warrior pull out a mirror to check his reflection before he headed back to the dance.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that male vanity is universal.
When I left, the festivities were still going strong, and the Samburu were all dancing away to the sound of handclaps and humming.