My recent trip to Tanzania was one of the most amazing experiences I ever had. After this article you will know why! It is so hard not to fall in love with beautiful land that Mother Africa has to offer. Honestly, this trip was for a long time on my bucket list but somehow was afraid of it. Guess lack of knowledge and all rumors made me wait this long. And now after I did it all I want to do is to escape again, this time for longer period and try to help and build better future for this amazing community.
The Maasai people reside in both Kenya and Tanzania, living along the border of the two countries. In last decades way of living for a Massai tribe changed a lot. They still live by their heritage but some of them are leaving the nomadic way of living and move to bigger cities. Many Maasai tribes throughout Tanzania and Kenya welcome visits to their villages to experience their culture, traditions, and lifestyle.
They charge 50$ per car which is fair amount in my opinion. There are several villages you can stop by and enjoy their tradition and performance. Opening the village for tourism allow tribes people to generate vital income that can pay for food, life-saving medicines and education. Most of the villages are situated around the most famous National Parks like Serengeti and Ngorongoro. It’s a sad but true that many tribal communities now depend on tourism. Yet it’s tourism and development that has created the most problems.
They are considered one of the tallest people in the world with average height of 6 ft 3 inches according to some reports. Traditionally, the Maasai diet consisted of raw meat, raw milk, and raw blood from cattle. The Maasai have traditionally relied on local, readily available materials and indigenous technology to construct their housing. Head shaving is common at many rites of passage, representing the fresh start that will be made as one passes from one to another of life’s chapters. Warriors are the only members of the Maasai community to wear long hair.
The Maasai are probably the last of the world’s great warrior cultures and the bravery of the Masai warriors is still a source of pride to the tribe. Young boys are given the responsibility of herding and guarding the cattle from a very young age, while the girls learn to clean and milk the cows. Eunoto is at least ten days long lasting ceremony of young men, who are in a rite of becomings what Masai are supposed to be – warriors. Eunoto is just one of many Masai ceremonies, performed for different occasions, especially to denote someone’s passage from one life stage to another.
Girls will be married off by their elders into traditionally polygamous marriages and are responsible for all household chores including the building of their temporary houses, using mud, grass, wood and cow dung as well as cooking, beading and child care. The warriors, of course, build fences to protect the cattle and fearlessly defend them from attack by wild animals.
Most Masai people dress in the well-known red “shuka”- a sheet of red fabric which is wrapped around the body and adorned by elaborate beadwork around the neck, arms and ears. Both sexes dress alike and both sexes practice ear piercing and stretching of the earlobes – greatly stretched earlobes are regarded as very beautiful.
The Masai tribe started the practice of ear stretching to alter their appearance and look more beautiful. However, cultures and tribes across the world now practice this art for various reasons, including physical beauty, religion, coming of age ceremonies and even warding off evil.
Many Masai wear simple sandals, sometimes soled with pieces of motorcycle tires. When males become ‘morans’ (warriors), around age 14, they traditionally dye their hair red with ochre and fat.
Other tribes in Tanzania often believe that Maasai are backwards, as only 48% of all Maasai females go to school. Most boys attend school, and the Maasai village we have visited wasn’t an exemption. The main reason why parents don’t send girls to school is greed. The Maasai men are afraid that after learning basic laws a young wife will take all of the family’s wealth to her husband’s family . Maasai know that if you educate a woman she will have confidence and independence to stand up for herself and provide for her family at the same level as a man. Which quickly ruins the old system everyone is used to.
Overall, the Maasai way of life is hard, monotonous, and sweaty. It would certainly be an incredible struggle for me to take to this way of life permanently. The Maasai however, still managing to maintain the old ways of life.
I hope you like this blog post and that you find it interesting and beautiful. I hope it will push you to think over again how wonderful and crazy is the world we are living in. If you have any similar story to share with me feel free to do it ! Want to hear all about it.