The Maasai Village
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.