We walked for several hours, transitioning from the hard mud-caked flats to grassy plains. A Barbaig tribesman appeared out of nowhere and approached Melly, our Maasai guide. Would our group like to visit his home inside the boma? (Note: A boma is an enclosure for all of the animals.)
Melly was taken aback and told us this was the first invitation he had received from the man in his many walks.
The boma was circular and made of brush. As we stepped inside we were in a small farmyard. The family gathered around with a visiting friend. The little girls stayed close to their mother. The man indicated we could go in and see his home and the mother went to the door as if to greet us as we entered. The small first room was lit by the open door, but we needed to use an iPhone flashlight to see into the area beyond the first room that was used for cooking and sleeping. The floors were dirt and the space very small. No electricity, no plumbing, and not anything even resembling furniture – everything at its most basic. No decoration evident, unless you counted the gourds hanging outside their home used for water.
A few chickens ran around inside the boma. Most of the goats and all the cattle were grazing at some distance away. Our guide later estimated that our host probably had over 150 cattle in his herd (based on the size of the enclosure).
Our guides spoke to the family and exchanged pleasantries.
After we left and continued our walk back, we realized the amazing luck that allowed us to walk by that day and visit this family. Some memories of our travel will stay with us forever. The invitation to visit to this family’s boma will be one of those.