LIBONI

The morning broke sunny and beautiful, an excellent day to meet a witch doctor. David and Joseph soon pulled up in their Land Cruiser and we were off bounding through the Tanzanian countryside. For a short time we drove on some very bumpy dirt roads, then all of a sudden the roads ended completely. That didn’t stop David, however. We were now driving across open fields, four-wheeling through washed-out gorges. When I inquired how he knew where he was going, he just laughed and said, “The Masai are nomadic, and we are going to drive around ‘til we find them.”
After about an hour, a lone Masai was spotted tending to his goats. We stopped and David began talking to him in the Masai language. Soon he was back in the car with big smile on his face. The Masai warrior had told him where to find the Liboni. After another hour of radical driving over some very rough terrain, a small collection of huts could be seen in the distance. I could feel my stomach tighten; it’s not every day you meet a witch doctor.
We pulled up and a number of small children surrounded the car. A few older women also found their way over to us. David talked to them for a minute, when one of them suddenly yelled toward the main hut. The door of the hut slowly opened and a very old man came out. Soon he was talking with David, and I could see him pointing in my direction. To say I felt out-of-place would be an understatement. I could see they were in a very tense, animated discussion.
Finally, David came over and let me know the problem. The Liboni thought I was a government official, and the Masai do not like anything to do with the government. My heart sank as I thought that this had all been for naught, then David smiled and told me to come with him. He had convinced the Liboni I was his friend, and the old man would speak to me. With some trepidation, I followed them all into the hut. The old man turned and took my hand while looking deep into my eyes. It was a little creepy, but he soon smiled and motioned me to sit down next to a little fire.

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