Friday, June 7, 2013

Maasai village

No Internet on the boat in Turkey, so no recent posts. 

We visited a Maasai village to see how the local locals live. It is certainly different. Our guide, Norman, is in blue below. The people we met all had Christian names to help us out :). The kid is the Czech kid in our group and he's wearing a lion head thingy. They kill lions when they attack the village / animals but you never eat wild animals. They only eat the meat they raise, beef, lamb and goat. 

They performed a local dance for us. Basically they sang/chanted and individually jumped high, repeatedly. That's Norman jumping. He is a teacher in the tribe. He left to go to school and college in Nairobi but then moved back. The school has over 100 kids and he pointed to a small building in the distance. I'm not sure how they fit so many or if there are even separate classes. 

And they wanted to get us to join in. 

Each village is made up of essentially one family, so you marry from another tribe. There were 8-10 huts made from sticks and mud and cow dung. There is one chief. He can have multiple wives. For each wife though, he must pay the parents 10 cows. The chief of this village had six wives....60+ cows! He's rich. The village will live here ten years. Then they burn it and move to another site. 

A two-day old lamb

This is inside the chief's hut and is where they cook. There was a room to sleep but also separate rooms for the lambs and cows to come in at night. The cows then get milked on the way out in the morning. There was no electricity and not much natural light came in. 

A house in progress...

The cow dung, wet and ready. 

There are almost 200 villages in the Maasai area. Each has a chief, midwife and a medicine man. Villagers only leave to sometimes attend school. But they always come back. It's not like leaving the Amish and being shunned. The Maasai just come back. They even had a government representative from the Maasai who on his government breaks went back to live in the village. 

In addition to meat, they eat milk and blood, some fruits, not many veggies. They said the grass is for the goats, not people :). The blood they drink/eat is from the cattle. They pierce it and take like a liter or more (maybe 3? I can't remember). In the mornings they will boil/bake it down so it's cake-like and eat it up. I did not try this :). 

One other interesting topic was circumcision. I asked Norman how he got rows of burns/scars on his arms/chest. He said it was from "practice". Circumcision is done during a 6am ceremony in front of all the men from your and surrounding villages. The boy is between 11 and 15 years old. There is no anesthesia or anything and these boys have to be cut without flinching. If you flinch, you are not considered a man and can never marry anyone. So to practice not flinching, they take a burning/smoldering stick to the boys' skin and get use to coping with the pain. Very interesting but I cannot imagine. 

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