Several different Maasai families live around the village of Selela. I am welcomed to the area by the Kipara Lagilala family, who, like all Maasais, live in a hut made of soil, cow dung, straw and branches.
As I wander around, I notice a hand emerge from one of the huts. Intrigued, I stop and wait for a person to materialise. But no-one does. Unwilling to give up, I wait. Suddenly, a boy’s face appears. It disappears just as quickly, but in that split second, our eyes had locked. It was only a brief moment, but we are both now curious.
I wait for him to come out of the hut. He waits for me to stop watching. From his hidden vantage point, he scrutinizes my moves in what is his home.
Who will wait the longest? Who will be more curious? Me or the child?
I decide to stay where I am. I aim my camera at the hut, knowing that I won’t have more than a second to take the shot.
Only a minute passes before he’s back. He looks straight into the lens of my camera with an amused, lively look in his eyes. It distracts me, and I don’t take the picture. I think I’ve missed my chance, but to my surprise the child doesn’t retreat back into the hut. He stays where he is, looking at me. I observe him through my viewfinder, without taking a picture. We watch each other, motionless.
We seem to be playing “whoever moves first loses”. Twenty seconds pass. I decide to take a picture. The click of the shutter breaks the silence, the wait, the game. My little friend disappears.
Will he appear again? He doesn’t. I walk on between the huts, looking for further Maasai family members. There are lots of children.
Shortly before I leave, in a sea of many faces I recognise a set of eyes. It’s him. He’s won the game! He had followed me and my story, here in his own village.
We look each other in the eye and with a shared smile – we bid each other farewell.