WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

March 10, 2015

WordFood of Laughter

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 12:27 pm

Babu gripped me with incredibly strong arms, his brown tinged eyes staring into mine, twinkling with mirth. His misshapen teeth, the only four he had left, showed in a big grin as we laughed at each other. He had just dumped an entire water bottle down the back of my neck, and he was waiting for me to make one last move. I didn’t have one. Ultimately I just hugged him, hard, and he hugged me back. This Maasai ancient and I, along with his three compatriots, had just taken me seven days and six nights across the Tanzanian countryside in 110 degree heat. I was the one who had started the water fight on Day One, and Babu had ended it by emptying the bottle down my back, and there was nothing left but to say goodbye, safe travels and good luck. All done in silence, with a look of love, a huge hug, and a wave. I don’t speak Maasai, Babu doesn’t speak English.Words were completely unnecessary.

The four man crew and the three camels picked up their slow pace and headed back out over the heat-shimmered lands, and my driver headed east towards Arusha. I watched, tears in my eyes, until they were mere specks. I would wake up for at least five more days convinced I was still in my tent, with Raymond  making his famous pancakes to begin the day at 4 am.

Mkuru Camel Safari was my final adventure in five weeks across three countries. Only Philip, the young Maasai man whose first son Christophe was born on day two of our adventure spoke even a bit of English. We traveled through all kinds of terrain, past Maasai bomas and lands, open territories and hills, and across vast lands where wild animals ran free. And always we laughed.

With little language shared, we shared the work. As soon as I sorted out the camp chores I began to help with breakdown and setup. I skipped the nightly showers, so that reduced the workload and gave us more water to drink (and throw at each other in the stifling heat). I used bath wipes at night, and slept with a wet bandanna draped over my body to reduce the temperature.

Early in the morning I woke up with Raymond, snuck up on the sleeping men in their tents, and shook the tents while yelling “ELEPHANT” until they woke up and groggily poked out their heads. The pranks earned me pranks back, and they nailed me with water mercilessly while I was trying to write, eat, rest, sleep or dodge the onslaught. And always we laughed.

One white woman, four African men, minimal language shared. We ate, walked, rode, slept and traveled together, marveled at the stars, chased each other around the campfire, dug acacia thorns out of each other’s skin and enjoyed Raymond’s cooking, teased each other without mercy, and laughed all day.

At the end of it, it was intensely hard to say goodbye so I doused them all with water. Through Philip, the only Maasai with a little English, they thanked me for the laughter, the pranks, and the shared work. I just cried through my smile. Then they threw water at me, and thus doused, we waved goodbye, laughing.

Powered by WordPress