Friday, June 15, 2007

Would you run here?

We didn't run at Il Ngwesi, but we were quite happy to walk here, through the thick bush, with our American friends, and our six kids aged 10 to 18. We knew about the Wendy Martin attack, and we saw elephants. We did have two armed guards with us, but we never worried at all about any danger. And if an enraged elephant had suddenly appeared, I don't think any of us would expected our guards to offer an absolute guarantee of protection. They've been going out daily for years, the Wendy Martin incident was a 1 in 3000 chance. Bad things do happen. And actually, if there was no risk at all, if walking through the bush in Africa was no more dangerous than sitting in your front room watching David Attenborough on the flat screen, then part of the thrill and excitement would be missing. Knowing there's a tiny chance, albeit very remote, that something like this might happen is part of the experience.

And that seems to be the overwhelming – surprisingly overwhelming – opinion of Scotsman readers, too. Nearly all of them are I think going too far in the other direction. The fact is, walking around Il Ngwesi genuinely isn't as dangerous as people who haven't been there might think. Accidents like Wendy Martin's are incredibly rare. Like swimming, horse-riding or cycling, walking in the bush in Kenya just isn't risk-free. But, again, it would be a tragedy for thousands of local Maasai if this court case closed down Il Ngwesi.

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