After breakfast the driver is driving with you now to a Maasai village, reflecting the normal living conditions of the Maasai nomads and not put on touristy. This still relatively pristine living tribe will probably be gone unfortunately in the not too distant future. Everything you see in the Maasai is determined very interesting for you. But you will understand much better what they have seen or can handle, if you have a bit more knowledge, especially the culture of the Maasai, their traditions and their special way of life:
Probably you have heard that the Maasai lived as dark-skinned Nilotic along the Nile in modern day Sudan about a thousand years. From there they travelled with their herds further and further south. According to their tradition they are moving constantly since those days in search of new pastures and water. Your whole life they have adapted to the needs of their herds; they live in perfect harmony with their sometimes abundant barren environment.
On the way to the village you will probably see a couple of young Maasai men; they are extremely proud and lofty and follow their herds of cattle on the sun-baked plains. Definitely you immediately notice their long springy steps. Sometimes they stop, push the iron shaft of her spear into the ground and will stand in a funny pose that reminds me a bit of a heron bird: you stand on one leg, the other is bent and is supported on the leg of the standing leg. You look around the savannah, perhaps you are looking for the environment for predators, which may approach their flock. Older Maasai men have put their arms around the shepherd’s crook which is cross-shouldered. From a distance it looks a bit like a man being crucified.
Look now even the clothes: all these Maasai men wear the so-called “Suka” (= Swahili for bed sheet!) Or the “Rubega” (the same in the Maasai language). It is a toga-like woollen shawl, which is tied over one shoulder. It is usually made of bright red check fabric, which you can buy as a souvenir on the Maasai market. Sometimes a violent gust of wind comes and blows up her cloak. Should something like you can briefly see the muscular, lean physique of a Maasai, not an ounce of fat!! Now you will notice that their naked skin is covered with a reddish clay, which is known as ochre. It is a mixture of animal fat and red clay and protects against mosquito bites, but also keeps all other pests at bay.
The many thin interwoven nylon braids of the warrior hairstyles are treated with this stuff ochre. Pearl earrings hang down from their pierced earlobes. They emphasize the high cheekbones of these people and their pretty nose. Pearl necklaces hanging around the neck, the arms are often decorated with hammered copper bangles.
Wherever the Maasai showed up in earlier times, they were classified as fierce warriors and were therefore held among other tribes in high esteem. War was life, and it was not for nothing that they were for centuries the rulers of the East African plains and savannahs.
From a distance, a Maasai village is hardly noticeable, because it is completely customized in color and material of his surroundings. The oval Maasai huts look like large brown bread rolls. They are coated with cow manure and are safe behind bush barricades. Definitely you will be asked to come inside a hut:
The entrance is attached like a tunnel and meanders like a snail shell inside. The purpose of such a complex built entrance gate: a lion will not enter, because lions have little desire to go around all these turns. The interior of the Maasai hut is usually divided into two rooms: one serves as a stable for the young goats, sheep and calves, the other as a kitchen, living room and bedroom. Upon entering the hut your eyes have to get used to the darkness for a while before you can recognize shapes and objects. Only a small window opening allows light to fall into the interior, so in the space – despite the blazing sun outside – it is pleasantly cool. For sitting small three-legged stools are available. It smells like a smokehouse: in the middle is the hearth, the smoke flows up through the cracks in the clay of the ceiling construction. Nevertheless, the remaining space in the smoke bites a little in your eyes and they might even begin to water.
The wood frame for the hut is built by the Maasai men of bent branches. The women then seal it off with a clay-manure mixture. Then, the sun dries these plasters, strong, and they become cracked. This is not particularly pleasant when the rainy season sets in and the rain water runs through the cracked ceiling. To prevent this, cowhides are arranged like tiles from outside through the ceiling rounding and is anchored with branches, so they do not fly away right at the next gust of wind.
Maasai women are very hospitable. Surely they offer you tea, which you can safely drink (so no fear of germs, the kettle was boiled yes!). Maasai women are covered with many strings of beads and metal jewellery. This jewellery they wear not only around the neck but also as headbands, earrings, bracelets and rings, wrists and ankles, legs and knees. The necklaces are wide and consists of thousands of small beads that are strung in painstaking detail in to the most beautiful colour patterns. Each piece of jewellery that they wear is a particular event in the course of their lifetime (marriage, first child, etc.). You will notice that the Maasai women as opposed to men (with their pretty Braided Hairstyles) hair totally shaved mostly. They rub the scalp daily with beef fat, so that it shines like a bacon rind.
A large crowd of children appears suddenly on the square in front of the hut. The little girl wearing a scarf around her waist, in contrast to the little boys running around naked. A girl, and no matter how small, is never shown naked.
Once the kids open their mouths, you notice determined gap between her teeth on the lower jaw. At the age of about five years, they both lower central incisors are removed. The operation is performed without anaesthesia and apparently performed so deep that even the roots for the permanent teeth together with the visible baby teeth are removed. The Gap in the lower jaw is a typical feature of the tribe of the Maasai. The purpose of this ordeal: was due to tetanus, which used to occur very frequently, patients have spasms in the upper and lower jaw which then lock, the Maasai can therefore take no more food and must starve. Due to the lower tooth gap the person concerned can now still take liquid food by mouth.
You are definitely interested to know what the Maasai eat on a daily basis. The main food of the Maasai is fresh milk and the women carry sour milk in gourds with them constantly. Also cow blood is drunk, which is bled from the jugular vein of the cow. It is during the dry season when the cattle give little milk as emergency rations and as a booster for protein and iron. Beef is eaten rarely, because for a Maasai cattle are his life, and he appreciates it more than anything. Since the number of cattle a man has represents his wealth and his social status, of course, a Maasai is very reluctant to sell or slaughter of his cattle.
They Myth Of The Maasai: God ( Engai in the Maa language) has created the first Maasai and second only the cows that are the root to keep the Maasai alive. The Maasai are here to carry on for years, of their Spartan life solely for their cattle, and for the cattle to provide them with everything necessary: milk, simple cheese, butter, meat and blood. Cattle manure is considered as fuel and is used for building huts. The cow skin is used for covering roofs during the rainy season, cowhides are perfect (see above). Earlier, when there were no Maasai blankets with plaid, cow skins were also used as articles of clothing. From the horns; containers are manufactured and jewellery is made from the hooves. Even the urine of a cow is used for daily needs: it is sterile, ie contains no germs, so it is used for washing hands and rinsing the gourds due to the lack of water. You see, with the Maasai in the bush, nothing is wasted. Even in the Maasai description of the night; part of the cow is poetically included for a Maasai night is, “when the large cowhide covered the land.”
Maybe you are there during a bloodletting. The procedure is performed as follows: First, a strong ox is chosen. Two Maasai men then hold them by the horns, and a third places a leather strap around the neck of the ox. This belt he draws now so tight that the cephalic vein is visible on the side of the neck of the ox. Now comes a Maasai man with his bow and arrow a few steps back and shoots with a blunt arrow (the arrowhead is crescent-shaped rounded down) from about 30 cm to the blood vessel. Immediately the blood flows in a thin stream from the wound and is collected by means of a calabash. Thereafter, the leather strap is removed and the wound is clogged with dry earth. The cowhide is at this point with your fingers slightly compressed until the blood is coagulated and the wound is not bleeding anymore. The collected blood in the calabash is stirred continuously by means of a long spoon. On the spoon fibrinogen clots accumulate, which can easily be separated from the liquid fresh blood in this way. The blood in the gourd cannot coagulate now and will be passed around as salty-tasting energy drink. On average, an ox be tapped of only about 1-2 litres of blood.
The Maasai have made a name for themself, among other things with their ability to kill a lion with a spear. This practice has now been officially banned by the government, but is required by the families as an initiation ceremony time and time again. Such an event began so early in history, when it did not exist the strict wildlife protection laws. The hunt runs so that the Maasai warriors surround the lion and continually approach; making the ring smaller and smaller. Finally, before the fatal shock is tried one of the warrior’s tries to grab the lion’s tail from behind and thus distract him while his colleagues take advantage of this moment to attack. Of course, the one who makes the first attack of the big cat with his spear is most at risk.
In most cases, two or three young warriors lose their lives on a lion hunt. The entire event from the circling of the lion to his killing has generally taken less than five minutes. You will not see this of course on your trip but you will learn about these fascinating people.