The Enthralling Maasai People of Today

Visiting Maasai Village was one of the programs of our Safari Tour in Maasai Mara. On our second day after having lunch at the edge of Mara River, Tom, our guide and driver, took us to a Maasai village to see how Nomadic people live in person. This time, Tom was not the first person in the group. He handed over the role of leader to Ken, a Maasai man who would guide us to see his village and introduce us to the Witch Doctor who is considered paramount and head of the community.

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The Maasai Village.

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The Maasai Village, Closer up.

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A Maasai house in the village.

When the witch doctor saw me, he asked immediately, “Are you coming from Congo?”

I was amazed, and my friend Lu whispered in my ear, “How did he know?”

“I have no idea, dude. Perhaps, that’s why he’s called the witch doctor,” I whispered back.

The Maasai were friendly and welcomed us very well. Entering the village, we were expected to give charity, at least 20 USD per person. The money is used for the education of the  Masaai children. While doing the tour, the head of the village explained to us how Maasai people live traditionally for many years.

After occupying one village for nine years, they must leave the land they have lived on and move to a new area to start a new life again. This practice is done based on an agreement made between the Masaais themselves. There is no electricity or a running water pipeline within the village. For their daily needs, they use water from natural resources such as the river and spring.  There are no toilets in the homes. Instead, they go to the bush and use leaves from special trees to clean up.

To entertain the guests, the Maasai men started to perform a traditional Maasai dance. Some of the men sang, and the others jumped with sticks. They even put a red sheet on me and made me look like one of them. Afterward, the women took their turn to amuse the guests. Unlike dancing done by men, the dance by the women was slower. They didn’t jump. Instead, they just stood and made a circle, walked slowly while the singers sang a song. I couldn’t help myself from joining in.

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The Massai Men performing the traditional dance.

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Here I am with the Maasai.

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Here I am with the Maasai Women, ready to dance.

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This photo is when I am following the traditional dance with the Maasai Women.

After awhile a young man named Sam (from Samson), invited Lu and me to visit his house. All houses in the village look the same. It was made by mixing clay and cow dung, with one door at the front side. These houses were built by women, instead of men. Based on tradition, constructing a house is women’s duty while men act as village warriors to guard the village from the enemy and go to the jungle for food hunting.

The house was dark, as there was no window for ventilation. There was only one room inside, where all activities, from cooking to sleeping happened. Sam’s father asked Lu and me (he thought that we were husband and wife, and immediately pardoned himself once he realized that we were not) to sit on the big box. I presumed they just used it to serve the guest for the special occasion. We had a simple chit chat with the whole family. As guests, we welcomed warmly. Sam also served special beers made from unique trees which they call sausage trees due to its fruits resembling sausages. Fortunately, they understood well when I explained that I don’t drink alcohol. However, Lu didn’t mind having a taste of beer.

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The Outside of Sam’s House

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Inside Sam’s House

Even though they live in primitive and traditional ways, many villagers are educated. Sam, for example, finished his high school and waited for the exam results to enter Medical School in Nairobi. I could see that the children had a strong desire to learn when I found some kids sitting in front of their house reading a book.

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Some Maasai Kids

Later Sam’s father took us outside to join the other people that were showing the guests how to make fire. The Women also made some crafts to be sold to visitors like us. They made necklaces, bracelets, rings and many more items. Afterwards, they took it to a traditional market to be sold.

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The Craft Market in Maasai Village

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The Craft Market in Maasai Village

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A beautiful Maasai woman.

Overall my visit with the Maasai left me impressed and mesmerized by their ability to live happily in their simple and ordinary ways. Compared to me, living in big cities with many facilities, but sometimes having many complaints about life.

Guest Author: Nurul Lubis

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