On a beach in Zanzibar I met a Masai Warrior called Luca. He is an Askari (security guard) in the hotel next door. I was exploring the palm lined beach and he stopped me to say hi. Him with the broadest brightest smile of all time. I liked him immediately.

We shook hands. Him clicking his index and thumb around my thumb. Africa is the land of a thousand different handshakes and this was a new one to me! We looked each other up and down. He was dressed in everything that you would expect. Me the epitome of a travelling beach bum. He had a great sense of humour and we talked about his 14 cows, wife and son and “Mzungu Music”. “I like Mzungu music” he says. Instantly pulling out his fake iPod phone and blasting out Elton John. Jaysus! We needed to have a conversation about this sad state of affairs and explained that auld Elton played for the other team.

Over the next two days Molly and I would go for a swim and inevitably I’d sneak off to hang out with Luca. Years ago I developed a fascination with tribes people thanks to my mate Fido as well as a healthy love of wildlife instilled by my father from a young age. So, meeting a Tuareg or a Masai are childhood dreams come true.

Red from head to toe draped in that typical Masai weave. Long braided waist length hair partly shaved on the side and back. Adorned with various beads and hand made jewellery. Holes in his ear lobes you could put your thumb through. A hand crafted weapon akin to a shillele on his leather belt along with his iPod phone and sandals made, expertly, from a motorbike “knobblie” tyre. Molly wanted to marry him. I wanted to bring him home to show him off. Just imagine him sitting there having a coke in the Grange ?!

2 Luca

One night I was telling him about Polar Bears. He’d never heard of them. He just couldn’t imagine one. So, geek that I am, I downloaded a picture of one to his phone. He was utterly amazed and couldn’t believe that it could be three times bigger than a Lion and twice as fierce. He had killed a Lion but was unsure of an adversary as formidable as a Polar Bear. I was completely enamoured by him and really enjoyed his company.

1 Luca

So, Lala Salama, Luca. Take care. I hope we meet again.