Sunday 12 March 2017

Getting Our Wild On


Soysambu Wild Festival welcomed us with purple flags waving in the lake breeze, and artist love-fest décor draping the African landscape. Our driver Nelson drove us around looking for the perfect camping spot. We found it away from others on the very outskirts of the festival closest to the lake. We set up camp quickly with Acacias surrounding us and the light azure lake in the distance. Tiffany let me use her tent guy lines and helped me build a quick shelter out of Lorraine’s ground cloth. The skies looked as though they might open up.

We jumped into festivity mode quickly meeting and greeting the mix of white Kenyan upper class and beautiful local black Kenyans connected to different portions of the event. Some were musicians, some cooks, and some locals here to get a taste of the peace and love of animals and humanity that is the heart of this event started by Tom Cholmondeley, who passed away last year. The event had lost its captain, but not its heart. It was clear to see the beauty and message of this gathering would carry on for years to come.

I slipped into my shiny purple leopard cat suit, tail and ears included, to fit into fun festivity mode with all the others who came out to play. The three of us went different directions with two cameras each to get the coverage that this project needed. Every day, I chuckled over the people connections, scenarios and opportunities that lined up for the unfolding of the “Rallying for a Wild Life” story. It was a thrill to capture as much as we could on film with synchronicity as the thread that would weave this beautiful tapestry of a film.

Lorraine was in heaven connecting with old friends and festival participants she met at their event launch last year. Especially Piers Simpkin, an Englishman who has devoted his life to camels and lived with Samburu warriors as part of a project that encouraged African tribes to herd the camels. Lorraine had lived in Egypt, as well, and enjoys the cross connection of animals like the camel that is also found in Northern Kenya, as well as the fruits and vegetables that can be found in both Eastern Africa and Egypt.

My cup of tea was the Zen Zone, where like-minded souls gathered for group meditation, massage and Pranic Healing. Being sensitive to energy, I could feel an insurgence of beauty surrounding us in our group intention as we focused on connecting with others around the world to raise humanity to peace. This feeling of group love continued on into the late afternoon as the grand procession of motorcycle riders, horses, camels and the crowd funneled through the purple horns that created a tunnel and symbolized prosperity to the Masai. We all followed the ones in front of us until we gathered at the lake to the setting sun on the horizon to launch the “boat of intention.” This small canoe was filled with straw and notes of heartfelt farewell messages to Tom to be lit on fire out on the lake with intentions sent to the heavens.

We got Tiffany to join us for the goddess triangle of dance as we shook our booties to the sounds of local Kenyan musicians and quick-handed DJs. I was enthralled to see many single people on the dance floor dancing by themselves to express their love of movement to the alluring beat. Self-consciousness was thrown out the window as all of us melted together to form one giant family of dancing fools sharing the love.

The three day festivity tightened the bond between all involved with the by-products of the fun being ear-to-ear smiles, sore muscles from dancing all the nights, and contact info exchanged between many. As we piled into our next taxi, we waved goodbye to Soysambu Conservancy knowing it had our hearts and the magnetic pull for a return trip for the next one. 

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