It is evening here and Naomom just stopped by on her way home from visiting her grandmother on the mountain above us here at Olbalbal. The old lady is blind and mostly deaf. She can no longer move around and stays inside the house most of the time. Tired from her daylong trek up the mountain and drinking a cup of tea on my front porch, she reminisced about her days as a little girl living with her “koko”.
Naomom had a horrendous story to tell. One day years ago and only four years old, she was playing near the cooking fire in her grandmother’s house. The old lady was resting on the skin-covered bed just a few feet away. She was lying with her head outward toward the hearth to better keep track of Nomom. The Maasai normally sleep with their feet toward the cooking fire. All the people of the small Maasai village had gone off, the men to herd the cattle or visit friends and the women to gather firewood or draw water. Suddenly there was a hyena in the house grabbing the old lady by the scalp pulling her off the bed. That wasn’t working so the animal tried to grab her by the arm and shoulders. All this time the old lady was screaming and finally was able to grab a stick with her good arm and land a good blow on the nose of the hyena. He ran off leaving Naomom’s grandmother badly mauled and Naomom shaking and in a state of shock. The old woman carries horrendous scars as a reminder of that awful day.