Photo Feature Friday: Masai Girl by Linda Hoffman Kimball
In February, 2007, I went with a Wellesley Alumnae group to Africa to focus on “Modern and Traditional Women in Tanzania” with a follow-up few days of animal viewing in the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater. We visited an AIDS hospital and visited with some of the healthier women who told us their heart wrenching experiences. We helped the women of the Baracka Women’s Collective prepare the midday meal (with machetes and iron pots over open fires) and helped with their chores. My hostess there showed me the brief version of how her daily life goes – from chopping banana fronds to feed her livestock, to hoeing, to grinding corn, to mucking out the cowshed and carrying water in a bucket on my head. Our travels included stops at a few Masai villages where the pastoral tribes set up their “bomas” (huts in a circular configuration around a common ground) while they grazed their cattle. One of the women, named “Happiness,” served in the Parliament and successfully petitioned to improve the ventilation in their dark, smoky huts. This picture was taken in Happiness’s village. The women (5 of whom – including Happiness – were polygamous wives of the tribal leader) stood around their fabulously beaded jewelry, headdresses, neck plates and belts which they made available to our group once we sorted out what specie of money they’d accept. While most eyes were on the exquisite handwork, I saw this little girl camouflaged in her mother’s colorful skirts. The dozen or so of us must have seemed at least as exotic to her as her community was to us. Now, nearly a year later, I’m still dreaming of wildebeests and zebras and trying to process the bounties of that trip.
I have been associated with Exponent II since the early 1970’s when I began illustrating the articles with funny little ink drawings. I’ve been writing the column “goodness gracious” for ExII for the past several years. I am also an occasional columnist on the Mormon page of beliefnet.com, an online interfaith magazine. I’m an artist, a writer, a poet… and therefore not a highly paid participant in our economy. I offset this by buying exotic, eclectic work by other artists, writers and poets. (Math has never been my strong suit.)
If you would like to submit a photo for X2’s Photo Feature Friday, please contact Jana Remy: phddillyATyahooDAWTcom