I teased Amon that I’d forgive him for not finding a rhinoceros (one of the big five) if I could stop somewhere to get a photo of a Maasai woman.
He did much better than that. He took us to a Maasai village called an Enkang! I had to pay $20.00 for the experience (Bill sat this one out). The money goes to buy drinkable water.
The Maasai people are a nilotic ethnic group that live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. This village sits about 6,000 feet, and as the photos show the rainy has not yet arrived.
A finely beaded wide necklace was draped around my neck and a group of women and men serenaded and danced their welcome. I was then encouraged to join the women as we bobbed our way into their fenced camp.
Two pairs of glasses and a camera around my neck trying to keep up:
Let the jumping competition begin. The men and women separated, sang and competed in a jumping contest.
WOW! The music. Dancing. Experiencing another culture. I’m grinning from ear to ear.
After the ceremony I was invited into a home to meet a young family.
Their cow dung homes are called bomas. I had to duck down low to enter and wind through the opening much like the opening of a snail shell. The first small area is sectioned off for their calf. The sleeping area is a raised bed of dried mud with a cow hide scraped clean of its hair top. It probably measures 3′ by 4′ feet. Next to that is a tiny area for a child. The raised beds also provide seating. In the middle a small fire on the floor. The only light comes from a 6″ x 6″ hole in the ceiling above the fire. There is no electricity and no running water.
120 people live in this completely fenced village called an Enkang. The elder male in this Enkang is 92 years old, has 12 wives and 72 children. The children go to seven years of government school and walk miles and miles to get there. Young children were being schooled in another boma right outside the fenced area. Nearby is another boma outside the fenced area where single men take turns guarding the Enkang.
I was able to watch the children doing their school lesson. A young boy guided the classroom in saying numbers and the alphabet in English. I then sat with them and taught the kids closest to me to fist bump with a finger explosion.
The men are herders. They own cattle and goats. They are everywhere in the countryside grazing their herds. The women make beaded jewelry, placemats and animals to sell to tourists. Their diet consist only of cow meat, goat meat and blood/milk from the same animals. That is it! No veggies, no fruit, no starch.
In researching the Maasai I learned that genital modification of both sexes initiate children into adulthood. Click on the Maasai in the previous sentence to read about their unique lifestyle.
The whole experience was fascinating. I could have done without the hard sell on the beaded items but I get it….. (and got it- HA!).