Tuesday, January 15, 2008
100 cows for my camera
It is the most modern country in East Africa, but as the current crisis has shown, however modern, Kenya can sometimes still harken back to a more traditional way of life.

Here are two recent examples:

During the first week of the election crisis there was some looting in Mombasa. In one case, wood was stolen from a lumberyard. Rather than get the police involved- the owners of the lumberyard merely gave the looters six days to return the goods or they would put a spell on the looters. It worked, within two days all the lumber was returned. No spells ended up being necessary. The police said they wished that solving each crime could be so simple.

On Friday, as I was going through security at the Mombasa airport, the woman at the x-ray machine was in awe at the size of my Professional Video camera. She said it must cost a lot, I said it was probably not a much as she thought. She thought for a second, and jokingly said “100 cows… I’ll give you a hundred cows for the camera.”

I do admit to thinking about it- thinking to myself ‘where would I put 100 cows?’ How would I explain a trade of 100 cows for 1 camera to CNN management? Could I trade 100 cows for a newer HD camera? In the end it seemed like it would definitely be too much hassle- but it is good to know that my camera I have used for many years could garner 100 cows should it become necessary.

-- From CNN Chief Photographer Todd Baxter, in Mombasa, Kenya.

What a wonderful story and colorful insight into the country and the culture. Thank you Mr Baxter.

Mexico City
With the technology of video and digital SLRs changing on a daily basis, your pro video camera is probably outdated according to trades.

As a photographer, it is the camera that is the most comfortable and does the best work for you that is worth keeping.

Keep the camera and leave the 100 cows to photographers who have to change equipment every six months.
even in India people have this typical barter system .... infact now its the season for selling the cows and in exchange (barter) they take TV and DVD's ...

funny but fact it happens
even in India people have this typical barter system .... infact now its the season for selling the cows and in exchange (barter) they take TV and DVD's ...

funny but fact it happens
What fun gifts the cows would have been for 100 of your closest friends and family!
I went to Kenya this summer and was offered 2 cows for my Nintendo DS...at that rate you got one great deal!!! You have to love Kenya!
In the 70s my Dad was in the Middle East with the UN & the Canadian Army. He was showing pictures of us kids to some of the locals including some higher ups in the Arab world. One of the men say a picture of me & offered my dad 50 camels in exchange for me. I was 3 at the time but he did not care, he wanted me. ALways wondered what my life would be like if the parents had accepted. Although how do you get 50 camels to Canada?
I'm surprised no comments on your story mentioned the 'spell'. I loved your story, human beings never stop amazing me...what a wonderful world we all make...

Joy from New Brunswick, Canada
Can't believe you passed on that opportunity next time pass on to me I can use to get a wife and buy you another stupid camera.
Oh yeah spells do work, I hate to admit it
Can't believe you passed on that opportunity, next time pass the cows to me I can trade them for a wife and get you another camera.
Hate to admit it but spells do work!!
Kip In dallas
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