This morning, in the expansive Maasai Mara I call home, I woke up sweating, breathing heavy and in a total panic. My brothers and sisters have been looking at me in a funny way as if I was crazy. For weeks now, 3 strong, ferocious and cruel lionesses have been visiting me in my sleep. They do not come for a tea party, no! They come for blood.
When we were young, my grandfather told us stories about how the lions would suffocate our kind before eating us as a sign of mercy. But the lions in my dreams are nothing like that. They tear me apart as if they were auditioning for a National Geographic documentary. I dare not tell this dream to anyone because rumour has it that when you experience this kinds of dreams, chances are, there is a lion stalking you out for a meal.
My day starts with the typical morning wildebeest head bashing game. This is the best part of the day. The reigning champion, also known as ‘bone crusher’, is going head to head literally with a visitor all the way from the Serengeti. Auntie says that if the visitor wins, a curse will befall our home and we will probably have to move to the Serengeti.
Bone crusher comes in strong in the first round, knocking some doubt into the visitor’s confidence. But the visitor is no amateur. He comes with renewed energy in round 2, almost knocking bone crusher off his game. They lock horns again, bone crusher thrusting the visitor with all his might.
Just as bone crusher is about to finish him off, suddenly the entire herd breaks into a sudden run. I find myself taking-off in the direction of the herd, wondering what is going on. As I glance back, I see a neighbour of mine crying for help as a lioness sinks her deadly canines into his neck. I stop and watch in horror as the lioness strips his life away and his cries for help slowly fade away. It is a sad day for all of us.
The attacks on our kind were not this rampant but ever since the new warlords, the pride males, took over, brutality has been on the rise.
Today word has been spreading around that we start our epic journey to the Serengeti the coming week. I also learn later that during the commotion, the visitor ambushed bone crusher and broke his leg, leaving him as dinner for the warlords.
It is still early morning and I have heard enough drama to last an ordinary person’s lifetime. I am really relieved we are leaving these killing grounds although I cannot stop thinking about the river of blood awaiting us.
Most of us will make it across the Mara River but those who are not so lucky will join bone crusher in paradise. As we get to the river, I see the blood-thirsty crocodiles waiting eagerly for ‘room service’, so to speak. I make a promise to myself that I will not die today.
I quickly jump into the water, with my heart racing like a formula one car and head to the other side. The water is freezing cold and I can barely see ahead with so many of us in the water. I manage to make it across safely and am greeted by my family who are glad to see me.
I have survived my first crossing! The future looks bright, with plenty of food and lots of girls. Truly the grass is greener on the other side.