the savage within
We adults are still the children within, changed, but still the being who was formed by life's initial struggles.Take this long-legged lad riding a humpbacked 'Boran' bull with a razor sharp sword strung to his waist, unfortunately, he has become me, an adult who on the surface seems so very different. As this bush-boy escaped the tensions at home by wandering the savannah with the fierce Nandi who tended grazing cattle, ever watchful for leopard and other dangers, including Maasai warriors, he had no idea he would end up living in a cold, wet land bordering the Atlantic. He, so young, had to be as fit as his tribal friends, had to engage in the deadly war-games which honed their battle skills and made all other tribes, including the Maasai and the British Army, respect them.
Many years later, returning with his wife to holiday in a Kenyan beachside village, when threatened by a London drug dealer with death "Before sunset", a similar sword and fears of those Nandi skills literally saved his life. A childhood spent constantly testing his prowess created an extraordinary body, but not the desire to race with his internationally accepted times at the Mexico Olympics. But such a body came into its own, when as an Aid worker, struggling with several deadly tropical diseases, it's inherent strength kept saving his life, one time after another. And again when recently afflicted by impossible health problems.
The way he is looking at Baraton the bull, so in tune with its massive bull, remains within me. I love creatures so much that my heart sinks if I tread on a snail. This lively lad who would creep from his bed each night to sleep curled into Baraton's huge side, half-listening to his Nandi friends' tales as they sharpened their spears and swords for action, continues to love a night under the stars. Indeed, each night I can't go to bed without standing outside and saying goodnight to the world and the sky.
That half wild boy's effervescent naivety has become this older mind so filled with amazing experiences and complicated emotions after a colourful life of travel, stunning friends and of facing many dangers. Now poor health denies this party-lover a social life, for when you are ill people who rush around on life's wondrous carousel don't even notice you are there... when you most need their company.
Beneath all this, I am still that savage lad from Africa, white on the outside, beautifully black inside. When danger threatens or when others are being attacked my inner 'Nandi' rises above fear, and thus far though weak and not well, I've survived and also rescued others without impunity. This bush-being inside also erupts to lift me above the usual despair long-term ill health creates.