because, as befits their traditions, he has killed a lion. My sons were suitably impressed.
However, we were told the Government initiatives mean they offer money now to deter the tradition, though the Masai do have a right to protect themselves.
As we entered the nearby village of Oltukai, I felt as if I was in another world. A circle of 10 huts – manyattas – built by the tribe’s women from branches and cow dung encircled a cattle pen where their precious herds of cows and goats are kept at night, secured by a thicket fence.
Ten families totalling 40 people live here. Lenard, 17, showed us round explaining how he wakes at 5am, tends to his family’s herd, has breakfast and walks 7km to school – for which his family has to pay about £30 a term.
My son Finlay asked him what he wanted to do when he left school. “Work in computers,” he said. “Do you have them at school?” Fin asked.
The 800-pupil school is roughly the same size as the one my sons attend, which has dozens of computers they access daily. Lenard told them his school had one computer – donated by an
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Like most children in the UK, they seem to have every gadget going and hearing about Lenard’s daily life was a true education for them.
After five days of safari, we were ready for some R&R and booked five days at the Pinewood Beach Hotel, Diani Beach, near Mombasa.
The three-hour bus journey from Tsavo to the hotel was again an education. We must have passed 500 high-tech lorries, all parked up and being washed while feet away are shanty villages and women carrying water on their head.
The hotel was perfect for us to rest our bones. Spotlessly clean and small enough for the boys to freely wander about with the pals they soon made.
Having a suite meant we could have a personal chef to cook us a three-course dinner. We chose what we wanted – from a wide range of dishes – and what time we wanted to eat. He duly arrived and the four of us ate outside on the veranda.
One morning, the boys and I got a taxi to a nearby shopping centre – 12 newlybuilt shops. On the way there we passed a woman sat on the stony ground using a lump hammer to knock large pieces of rock into pebble-size stones for building walls.
“She does a large lorry load in a month and gets £58 – and she runs a shop,” our taxi driver told us. I pledged to myself never to moan about how hard life is in the UK again.
As we were taken to Mombasa Airport to begin the journey home, our Imagine Africa travel rep repeated what many Kenyans had said to us: “Come back soon, we need your support and hope you have enjoyed our country.” We flew home wondering how we could top such a holiday. I believe my children had learnt more from our stay in Kenya than a year in the classroom.
UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE: Joshua, a Masai warrior, with young village children and their cattle and goats. Top, a giraffe crosses the road in the Tsavo National Park. Above, Finlay with a Masai girl outside a manyatta hut in the village of Oltukai.