My iPod Built A Wall

It’s Wednesday night here, early March, 10:30pm as I write this, realizing I’m so behind in the things I wanna share and say. The last few days have been very tough. Draining is the word. I’m in the heart of many things, between code development, working with the street kids, teaching computer skills. I haven’t had some me-time in a while, and I think it’s starting to wear on me.

If you could only hear the rain outside, it sounds like this house is sitting underneath Niagra Falls. It’s incredible!

I’ve been here for a little over a month, and I do have to say that things still affect me, when I experience them. I’m still very sensitive to the different interactions I have, and what I’m learning about people, about our race as humans. I’ll share with my sister who’ll reply to me “Paul, stop being so damn profound.” to which I respond “Nadia, kiss my royal irish arse.

The truth is, I am Egyptian, but saying it my way has better ring to it.

So I have some new friends here, a couple of Maasai warriors who work as hospital security. They stand out even from the average Kenyan, so much that even other Kenyans may stare. The Maasai have a presence unlike most people I know. I can’t put it into words, but there’s a difference there, a certain quality of character. Or maybe it’s just the 5 inch-diameter holes in their earlobes. From what I know about the Maasai warrior, is that they have to go through intensive training, and they do much to defend and care for their society, that they represent to me, true essence of bravery. Robert, the younger, is 30, and has killed one lion with only a small spear. The other, James, 50 years old (but doesn’t look older than 30, for some reason) has killed 2 lions, and is married with 5 kids. I see them now, every day at 6pm, and we just chill, and shoot the breeze. I forgot to mention Robert and James speak about 2 words in English, making communication very (very) friggin difficult, but wow, is my Kiswahili improving!

I was listening to my iPod and Robert saw me and wanted to know what was coming out of this little white device. I told him it was an mp3 computer, and he was like “Sidai oling” which is like “Very cool” in Maasai language. I let him hear a few tracks, and had him bopping to “Hey What’s Goin On” (it’s only for nostalgic purposes.) But, what really got Robert’s attention; the band that really captured Robert’s interest: Coldplay! He basically disappeared with my iPod, walking around just humming and totally gettin the wrong notes, really getting into it. But hey, the man loves his Coldplay!

He must have listened to Warning Sign at least 20 times. So, Robert offered to make a deal with me. In exchange for my iPod, he would give me a sword.

A sword from the hands of a Maasai warrior, in exchange for this mass produced yet VALUABLE object of mine, which holds 60 GIGS of music. Music being the reason I wake up every day. I don’t know if this is a fair trade. He then asked for a copy of the Coldplay songs on CD as long as I provide the listening device as well. But come on, a burned CD in return for a hand made Maasai sword? That’s unfair from MY end.

Any suggestions on what I can offer this man as a gift? Robert said, either way he’s getting me a sword.

In a way, I feel that iPod kinda put a gap in between me and Robert. Sometimes things  can come between people. Maybe it’s in my head, or maybe the fact that I owned the iPod put me in a different league – who knows. It’s just weird to be gawked at for something in my possession.

At any rate, Maasai sword. Yeah. Now all I have to do is kill a lion, and I can be an official warrior (but I’d also have to serve for 7 years, hunting, and raiding herds for my village). But seriously, I’d be a total chick magnet after an experience like that. Imagine telling a lady at a bar, that I had killed a lion with my bare hands. And then have the scars to prove it?

Yea, I got some work to do.

And here’s a random thought. It turns out that most of the characters in the Lion King, are actually just Kiswahili names for the animal species that they are. Simba means lion, as in, the lion king’s name is lion.  The friend’s name is rafiki, which means friend.  The warthog’s named Pumba which means warthog, you get the picture.

I hope no speaker of Kiswahili was subject to that film. That’s like us watching a Warner Brothers cartoon, you know the episode where Rabbit was being chased by Bald man with a gun. Or the one where Cat was trying to eat Bird but Old woman kept beating Cat with her umbrella whose name was Lucy. Thank you Disney for stretching the limits of creativity.

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