The Maa­sai Vil­lage

Galston, Glenorie and Hills Rural News - - Community News -

While on my re­cent stay in

Kenya I took time out from my daugh­ter’s fam­ily to ex­pe­ri­ence a 4 day tour of the Maa­sai Mara, the knowl­edge of which had been imbed­ded within me from my pri­mary school ed­u­ca­tion. Maa­sai Mara Na­tional Re­serve is an area of pre­served sa­van­nah wilder­ness in south­west­ern Kenya, along the Tan­za­nian bor­der. Its an­i­mals in­clude li­ons, chee­tahs, ele­phants, ze­bras and hip­pos. Wilde­beest tra­verse its plains dur­ing their an­nual mi­gra­tion. The land­scape has grassy plains and rolling hills the area nearby is dot­ted with vil­lages of Maa­sai peo­ple.

Part of the tour was an op­tional visit to a Maasi vil­lage. From my group I was the only will­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence the cul­ture. Af­ter pay­ing my tour fee I was es­corted from my hos­tel by 6 young war­riors who were dressed in tra­di­tional wraps and adorn­ments. It was very in­tim­i­dat­ing when they per­formed their tribal dance for me and then ex­pected me to mimic their moves. I love to dance but I found this was most con­fronting…..a lit­tle too tribal for my com­fort. I was then taken to one of the mud dwellings and sat in­side their con­fined space, which had only a small shaft for light and air, while they ex­plained their liv­ing ar­range­ments. They then tried to sell me trin­kets and de­spite not hav­ing any real op­tion other than to buy some things I still loved be­ing im­mersed in this strange do­mes­tic en­vi­ron­ment. I was then taken to meet the ladies who had road stalls and was ex­pected to buy more…and yet I en­joyed the smil­ing open faces of the women try­ing to earn a mea­gre ex­is­tence. I was the taken to the neigh­bour­ing school which was a to­tal fas­ci­na­tion.

There were 90 chil­dren in the 4th grade class which I was in­tro­duced to, with four chil­dren and one book to each desk. The whole school housed 1200 stu­dents. I was ex­pertly ma­noeu­vred into the school of­fice, door closed and spiel de­liv­ered that the school de­pends on do­nated funds, so I gave them all the money I had left which was only about $15….an un­der­whelm­ing amount but the re­sult of a se­ries of mon­e­tary con­tri­bu­tions along this tour path had emp­tied my wal­let. I didn’t be­grudge spend­ing the money be­cause I was fas­ci­nated by my ex­pe­ri­ence, to feel the won­der of a sim­ple life based on an­cient tra­di­tions while find­ing a har­mony with the mod­ern world.

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