get in touch with
One day in the afternoon we decided to have a walk along the beach to explore the area and see the little crabs hiding in the sand.
After a while, we saw a group of people all dressed up in the distance, with colorful clothes, of all ages: they were not tourists, they were locals from Watamu, children, women, elderly people all lined up on the sea shore.
We were pretty curious and came closer to them: they were singing in swahili, some women were leading the tune and then all the others followed them repeating the words, with an hypnotic rhythm and melody.
At the end of the line, almost into the water, there was a man: he had something in his hands, maybe a book, and when he talked everyone lowered the tone of the song; one by one they moved towards that man and after listening to his words they followed him into the water with their chest completely immersed.
That man looked deeply into their eyes with self-confidence and pushed their heads back into the sea a couple of times, like a baptism ritual.
We couldn't take our eyes off that scene, still respectfully quite far from them not to disturb or cause any distractions: we were quietly attending that local ritual, looking at those men and women singing together and entering the water, coming out of it with a new face.
The ones coming out of the water were welcomed with soft towels by the others and we saw the line fearlessly moving towards that man.
Every time one of them came out of the sea the song rose becoming a shout of joy as if it wanted to underline the change, that solemn moment.
It was really a strong and powerful experience that let us get in touch with the locals, with that culture so far from ours: Africa works this way, exactly as that ritual. It makes you curious, deeply touches you and finally makes you different.