When I was a young child living in Kijabe Kenya we had a drought in the valley below which caused the African Buffalo to migrate up to our mountain where our little town was.
It was a good thing in the beginning because President Moi had recently released a lot of criminals from Prison and some of them had formed gangs that came to our area and broke into some houses terrorizing the community. When the African Buffalo came in to the neighborhood the criminals went away.
The African Buffalo are known to be strong and aggressive animals in Kenya. Even to some Masai Warriors it is more honorable to take down a Buffalo than a Lion.
As a child at night we made sure to get in our cars because of the Buffalo out at night. You could see their eyes at night light up. My Father would take me around in the car at night searching for Buffalo in Kijabe. As a child it was exciting for me and I loved seeing them up close.
One Buffalo you could always spot because he had only one eye. We called him “The Lost Eye.” He was an old Bull and the rumor was that his eye was knocked out by a spear from a Masai warrior. He was alone, wounded and aggressive. For me he was bigger than life. He captured my imagination.
I remember at night in Kijabe(which means place of the wind) the wind howling and the deep darkness of the night outside my window. As I lay in my bed I imagined the Lost Eye out there standing in the darkest corner of the darkest night unfazed.
Think about the elemental drama that has gone on in Nature that Humans have never seen. The drama, the courage, the heroes, and the tragedy that is experienced by wild animals that have never been seen by human eyes.
One day after school I heard that the Army had been called to take out The Lost Eye. It took heavy weapons. I ran down to the lower part of Kijabe where they had killed him. The locals were cutting him up to share his meat around. His massive and noble head was sitting on a tree stump.
I approached it slowly and stared at his head in awe. He died in a blaze of bullets. A worthy death for a warrior animal such as The Lost Eye. Life for this beast had been brutal and tough and here alone in the historic Rift Valley he fell. Against the world and nature he was brought down but not without a fight.
After that I grew up being enamored with the African Buffalo. It happened to be our school mascot in Kijabe as well. The African Buffalo fighting off the mighty Lions till the very end even when outnumbered.
A Stoic and tough animal that looked its enemies and death face to face every day.
Protecting the weak among you and fighting till the very end in a world without mercy.
Montaigne was right animals have something to teach humans about this world we live in.