I had scheduled everything in such a way that I would get to Bomas well before the concert started and would be able to explore a bit. Not being able to get a taxi for a while threw that plan out of the window. I still managed to get there when they had only managed to get through one song.
I found a seat close to the stage in the big round auditorium and enjoyed an amazing spectacle of live music, song and dance. I am not sure how close it was to the real thing but it was as close as I was going to get to traditional African tribal dancing. There is no way for me to describe it so it’s better if you just check out some of the videos I made.
During the break I explored some of the traditional houses on the Bomas grounds. A lot of them were somewhat similar, made out of mud and wood, some of them were exclusively made of grass and straw. And absolutely all of them were no more than a basic shed, dark, suffocating and dingy.
After running back to the auditorium (not wanting to miss anything) I enjoyed more dancing and singing and drumming including the Maasai performance, which was completely different from all the rest. I couldn’t tell the others apart but oh boy! how did the Maasai stood out. Check out the video and you will see what I mean.
Last to perform was a group of young acrobats doing amazing flips and turns at incredible speeds. Their sense of humour wasn’t too bad either. You should have seen how all the school kids around me (there for a cultural school trip no doubt) livened up and started cheering. The performance was nearly over when one of the guys walked up to me and invited me to go on stage. I smiled and shook my head ‘No’ but he was very convincing. I couldn’t decline. What was the worst that could happen? I hoped there would be no dancing but I wasn’t that lucky. They made me follow some of their smooth, hip gyrating moves and I tell you what…I did pretty well. Not as well as them of course! But I’d say I stood my ground decent enough. After we were done with the dancing and the jokes one of the guys asked me to move towards the middle of the stage. ‘Close you eyes’ he said. I did. ‘Breathe deeply, in and out’ he went on. I did. ‘ Step on your tiptoes, lift your arms and try to touch the sky’ he instructed. And I did. I stretched higher and higher, the stage lights brightly shining on me. Next thing I know someone grabbed my wrists and lifted me up. I couldn’t see what was happening behind me but I am pretty sure it was some sort of a human pyramid and I was the centre piece. I hung suspended in mid air, with eyes (now) wide open and a huge smile on my face. I wasn’t nervous at all, I couldn’t see beyond the bright lights anyway, and I was in my own little, happy bubble. I was loving it!
Performance over, I walked out and thought I had about 30mins to have a look around before my taxi driver arrived. But as soon as I came out there was a guy with my name on a piece of paper. ‘Did you dance in there?’ was the first things he said. ‘Sort of, a little bit. Why?’ I answered. ‘People were talking about you outside, they were saying you did well’ he said. I smiled. It was a nice feeling. He said something else along the same lines but I don’t remember what it was.
A taxi ride back to ILRI, packing, dinner and off to the airport. That was my last day in Nairobi. For now…