Although the majority of the time I spent in Kenya was in the city of Nairobi, I was fortunate enough to get away from the hustle and bustle long enough to experience the traditions of the Maasai people. The village I went to was recommended by our driver from our Maasai Mara Safari visit.
Visiting a Maasai village has been on my list of must-do activities in East Africa for some time. Although there is some controversy as to whether or not most of the villages are just tourist traps, the culture and traditions on display are authentic regardless of how many still practice them on the day to day basis. We were greeted by the men and women who live in this particular village with song and dance. We were encouraged to walk around and take pictures while our guide told us about their traditions and answered any questions we had.
One of the interesting things I learned that was shocking to me is that the women physically build the home for the family; the men just build the fence around the village. The houses are made of branches, grass, and cow dung, and the process takes about four months to complete. Because the branches tend to collapse, they make new houses every ten years. Men are allowed to have multiple wives, and each would have their own home. Our tour guide explained he only had one wife because multiple wives and sets of children can get expensive 🙂 .the women physically build the home for the family; the men just build the fence around the village… Click To Tweet
Our guide informed us that they are no longer allowed to hunt the animals because of the reserve like they traditionally did. I believe this is one of the main reasons they charge people to visit their village and sell handcrafted goods. Our tour guide informed us that they also push the new generation to go to school, but it is expensive. A lot of the proceeds from the tours go to building and funding schools for the children. Now that the younger members are educated about nutrients in different types of food, they have incorporated fruits and vegetables into their diet. The older generation (those40 and older) choose to stick to tradition and only eat meat. The older generation also has the “long ears” that Maasai warriors are known for, but they are no longer allowed at school as a safety measure. They have learned the dangers of infection and other issues with having them, so less of the younger generation get them.
Visiting a Maasai Village would not be complete without the men doing the Adamu or jumping dance. This dance is traditionally done by the young men of the tribe as they pass into a new phase of life. They jump higher and higher to attract a bride who is more attracted to the man who can jump the highest. The long hair on the young man is a sign that he is not married as they shave their hair when it is time for him to be married and become a senior warrior.
Admittedly, I love learning about how different people and cultures from around the world so visiting a Maasai village was a total win for me, but what about you? Are you interested in visiting a Maasai village?