Footprints in the sand


It was a hot and sunny afternoon, too hot to bear, to be honest, if you left the comforting shade of the coconut palms. I was standing by the fence that separated the hotel on Diani beach from the rest of the Kenya and, full of eager anticipation, gazed over to the other side. It was my obstacle and, being warned by countless people not to venture out there on my own for safety reasons, I couldn't resist the urge to explore my surroundings. After all, that's where the real Africa was.. Beyond tourist comforts, cool drinks by the pool and security guards, that's where I felt I had to go.
As the light was fading and the sun released it's grip on the world, I noticed a lonely figure on the beach.Tall and gracious, clutching a spear in his hand, he soon disappeared beyond the sand dunes. A Masai warrior.! Intrigued and fascinated, I only noticed one thing.Footprints in the sand.Standing there in the mild breeze of the Indian ocean, I promised myself that I'll not be afraid to make some of my own.
A few days went by, and having met a couple of local boys, that kept a keen eye on hotel grounds for a chance to earn an extra few shillings, I soon fell for their reassurances to show me the Real Africa. A local village, situated a few miles from Diani beach, baboons too, they added, as if it didn't sound exciting enough. As the sun was barely creeping up the morning sky, I left the hotel gates behind me and awaited the arrival of my guides. Our destination- Ukunda village. Not far, they reassured me, throwing a doubtful look at my flip-flops.
We set off on foot, in scorching heat, with nothing in common but our humanity. Soon the busy tarmac road gave way to a dusty dirt track and, cheered on by curios onlookers, we disappeared down a narrow path behind a local shop. What opened up in front of me seemed like a scenery from the centuries we've long forgotten.
Golden sand paths crisscrossed the little hills, that were dotted with masterfully designed mud huts. They looked well sheltered underneath the coco palms, that kept the unforgiving sun out. Some bright red as the rich soil beneath our feet, some a little faded, with a few beaten straws for a roof and some with smoke coming out the window, where dinner was prepared on the fire. New smells and colours were tickling my senses, I felt overwhelmed with the beauty and grace of Africa. Dogs barking, children running, we kept walking on. A lot of surprised eyes followed my journey.. A company of dusty looking Africans sitting in the shade of the tree, a woman balancing a bucket of water on her head, girls with dresses so colourful like exotic flowers, an old lady with eyes that have seen it all.
Cheered on, smiled upon, I kept walking on. Footprints in the sand.. I was making my own.!

I Zujeva

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