Replayability /a true story/

It was a fine day. They had taken us to a place on the plain, not far from the village, a sort of enclosure of dry grey bushes and slender acacias, where they had just killed a cow. Its belly had just moments ago been slit open and bowels and fresh blood was spilling out of the gap.The stench was horrible. The young Masai warriors, gathered round the cow, were passing round a big, bumpy enamel bowl filled with a mixture of the fresh blood and milk which they courteusly offered to us upon our arrival. We declined politely, but later I was told that it is apparently this drink which made their skin look so healthy and shiny.

After a while, they took us to another place close by, a similar enclosure, with a few spots of shade under the acacias facing the savannah. The young warriors, who formed part of the all male group who were our hosts, were full of jokes and tricks, and they happily accepted our pens and other worthless European gadgets (serious money had, however, been exhanged with the chief of village upon arrival). Three of them, the youngest and most coy, formed a straight line facing us, and started to jump, higher and higher, on their beautiful long legs, in an attempt to impress us, their beaded hair and colourful necklaces jumping up and down and the short casually draped piece of red cotton cloth they were wearing, allowing the display of most of their muscular shapely legs. One of them had taken a liking to one of the other teenage girls in our compagny, and he was only half-joking when he stopped jumping and obviously very satisfied with his own skills, grinning asked her father if he could buy that girl. But the shy Scandinavian father ruefully declined which earned the young guy a howl of laughter from his peers. He shrugged and smiled at the girl, who didnt know where to look. Then they told us, how they were soon to go through the rite of passing from being young men to fully accepted members of the male Masai community. To do that they either had to hunt down a lion and kill it - or valiantly steal some cattle from one of the neighbouring villages. They didn't tell us directly, but it seemed like this event was perhaps a kind of special treat for them, a last offering of fun, before they had to face the more sombre aspects of being responsible Masai males with families to feed.

However, after a while, even the young boys grew still and started looking expectantly at us. It was our turn to entertain. The teenagegirl, who was not sold and were to return to Denmark a few days later, stepped forward, into the middle of the open circle of men and Danes which had by now formed. She was holding a black violin case in her hand, and so was her younger sister, who stepped forward right after her. With their almost white hair, and blue, blue eyes, the pale and skinny bodies they formed a nice, but strong contrast to the much taller dark men surrounding them; squatting, or leaning on their spears in a relaxed posture, all curiously watching the girls. The sisters now bent down and opened their cases, took their instruments, stood up and in unison lifted the violins and put them under their chin, in what appeared to be a finely adjusted and often performed ritual. They looked at each other and started to play in silent agreement. A crisp suite by Bach spiralled its way towards the flimsy blue African sky and everybody held their breath. There was just music and sky. Then suddenly, one of the older men stepped forward. "Stop", he called, and the girls abruptly terminated their playing. We glanced a bit anxiously at each other. Didn't they like the music? Some of the men whispered something to each other, while glancing at the girls, who shifted uneasily on their feet.

Then suddenly one of them ran towards the village. "Wait" said the man who had spoken before. The runner returned soon after, from afar we could see he was carrying a big, unidentifiable object in his arms. He approached quickly, gliding over the grass, and went directly through the circle of people, and placed the object in front of the girls. It was a shiny black taperecorder, obviously well looked after.

"Play it again, please", he said in fluent English, and pressed the recorder-button.

ŠLisbeth Klastrup 2002

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