The Maasai live in a way that seems ancient and almost unreal. Their dress, their jewelry, culture, and traditions fascinate me. We have quite a few Maasai in and around Arusha. I have been wanting to go to a Maasai village for a long time to see for myself what it's like.
Because their way of living is so different and intriguing, many villages have become tourist hot spots. I definitely did not want to go to a touristy village. I try NOT to be a tourist. As much as I may still look like a tourist sometimes, I try to think of myself as a local and I try to do things as un-touristy as possible. So, Brendon and my fellow volunteer friends decided to buy a 10 kg bag of rice and go in search of a Maasai village in the middle of nowhere. Brendon knew of a general area, so we drove to a place that's about half an hour away from the orphanage and then half an hour off the road into the desert. There really wasn't a road at all anymore. It was just dirt and random villages of mud huts. There were sheep everywhere and some cows. Any person we saw was dressed in bright red, orange, purple, or blue...the Maasai colors. We finally stopped at a couple of huts shared by one large family. We gave them the rice we bought as a gift and they were extremely thankful. They don't have many resources out there and they mostly live off of meat from their own animals. Rice is somewhat of a treat...so I've heard. (I need to research it and learn more about their culture.) We had a bit of a language barrier since none of them spoke a word of English, but they were so welcoming and friendly. We sang them some fun Christian campfire songs with actions and clapping and they loved it! In turn, they sang and danced for us, which was the highlight of the whole visit. The men weren't at home, so it was only the women and children...but there were many of them! They wanted to buy Kelly, one of the volunteers, as a wife for one of their men. They offered us 5 cows, but we kindly declined the offer...Kelly was a little upset that she was only worth 5 cows. We left, feeling like we had made new friends and we plan to go back to visit again. Their way of life is so different, yet beautiful in a way. I know there are a few practices that are less than healthy or positive, but at the same time, the people were happy and the children were vibrant! I'm eager to learn more about their culture and visit again to see their smiling faces.