This post at a glance:
-A quick overview of life as a Masai
-Pictures of their life and village
One of my favorite parts about safari is joining the Masai for a tour of their village. The Masai are one of the last of the 42 tribes that still maintains their culture, clothing and way of life. They are so kind and love showing off their homes and answering any and all questions one might have about their daily lives and culture.
The Masai are herdsman and they view wealth in how many cows and how many wives they have. Many of the Masai believe in polygamy and some have three to four wives. Traditionally when a man’s family reaches a certain size they branch off from the Manyatta or village and start their own mini village. Some of the Manyattas have 70-100 people which all share the same father or grandfather!
Because cows are valued so highly the Masai keep their young calves in a small room inside their houses. In Masai culture the woman builds the house, which is made of wood and cow dung. Every nine years the Masai move to a new locations because termites start to attack their homes. The men travel miles and miles away from the village and can be gone for months to find grazing land for their cattle.
At the age of 15 the boys leave the village in a group and are not allowed to come home for 3-5 years. Before it became illegal they would have to slay a lion before they would be considered a man. On their time away from the village they become fearless and self sufficient. They learn how to make weapons, make fires from sticks and survive in the wild. Because of this the Masai are feared and respected throughout Kenya as exceptional guards.
Despite their fighting abilities and fearless attitude towards their neighbors (lions, leopards, rhinos, hippos, crocodiles and rhinos) the Masai are some of the kindest people I have ever met.